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Dudley P. Allen Fund 1930.583
Commissioned by Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, this series of chiaroscuro woodcuts reproduces Andrea Mantegna’s Triumph of Julius Caesar, painted a century earlier. The scenes imaginatively portray the triumphal procession of the renowned Roman general and consul Julius Caesar following his successful defeat of Gaul in 52 BC. Each section of the continuous frieze shows elements typical of these parades, sanctioned by the Roman Senate and described in ancient texts. The printed suite’s frontispiece features a portrait bust of Mantegna, and the text below it boasts that the famous paintings attracted many viewers. People who owned sets of these woodcuts often tacked them up to create a decorative frieze. Andreani issued the prints with a sheet of classical columns that could be cut out and placed between the scenes. Two fragments of these columns, colored orange, still flank the fourth and ninth scenes.
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