May 20, 2013

Aeneas Saving Anchises at the Fall of Troy

Aeneas Saving Anchises at the Fall of Troy


Federico Barocci

(Italian, 1528-1612)

Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash and yellow gouache heightened with traces of white, over black chalk, with stylus (banister); framing lines in pen and brown ink

Support: Gray-green laid paper, laid down on cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 27.7 x 42.6 cm (10 7/8 x 16 3/4 in.)

L. E. Holden Fund 1960.26


Did you know?

This drawing may have been once owned by the painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640).


In book two of Virgil's epic poem The Aeneid (29-19 BC), the Trojan hero Aeneas escapes from the burning city of Troy and its Greek invaders with his family. Here the artist shows them making their way through a classical corridor. Aeneas carries his elderly father, Anchises, entrusted with holding their household gods. Aeneas holds the hand of his son, Ascanius, and his wife Creusa follows behind. Creusa's separation from the group alludes to her fate: she will fall behind and not survive their flight. Quick sketches on the right border of the sheet show Barocci practicing the balancing pose of Aeneas as he carries his father, and the stance of Creusa. The drawing relates to a now lost painting by Barocci and was also made into an engraving by Agostino Carracci (see CMA 1963.456). Details in the drawing such as the dog bounding down the stairs and Creusa's flowing hair and head scarf do not appear in the engraving.

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