Fall of the Giants

Artist: Attributed to Girolamo Fagiuoli (Italian, active Bologna, by 1539, died 1574 Bologna)

Artist: After Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) (Italian, Florence 1501–1547 Rome)

Date: ca. 1530s–40s

Medium: Engraving

Dimensions: sheet: 13 3/8 x 22 3/8 in. (34 x 56.8 cm) trimmed to platemark

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949

Accession Number: 49.95.8


In the mid-sixteenth century, the story of Jupiter overcoming the Giants' uprising was often associated with the victories of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519–56) over the Protestant rebellion. Such was the case with the vault painted in about 1533 by Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) in a chamber that served as a temporary throne room for the emperor in Andrea Doria's Genoese palace. This engraving records one of the preliminary drawings for the fresco. Perino follows Ovid's account in showing Jupiter fighting the Giants without help from the other Olympians, yet includes the boulders and uprooted trees mentioned by Apollodorus (Library 1.6) as weapons of the Giants.