Oct 9, 2012

The River God Tiber (Study for a fresco, Miracle of the Snow, or the Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome in the Canigiani chapel of S. Felicita, Florence)

The River God Tiber (Study for a fresco, Miracle of the Snow, or the Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome in the Canigiani chapel of S. Felicita, Florence)

1589

Bernardino Poccetti

(Italian, 1548-1612)

Black chalk on antique laid paper

Support: Antique laid paper

Sheet: 23.6 x 30.9 cm (9 5/16 x 12 3/16 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2012.36

Location

Description

Since ancient times, artists have depicted river gods as reclining bearded men, often holding or leaning on a large urn pouring water. This example, a preparatory sketch for a painting, personifies the Tiber River, which plays a role in Rome’s legendary origins. Romulus, the founder of Rome, and his twin brother, Remus, were abandoned as infants at the river, where they were rescued by a she-wolf. Poccetti lightly sketched the animal’s head behind the river god along with the face of Romulus or Remus.

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