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Title:Thusnelda at the Triumphal Entry of Germanicus into Rome
Artist:Karl Theodor von Piloty (German, Munich 1826–1886 Ambach bei Munich)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:53 x 77 1/4 in. (134.6 x 196.2 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Horace Russell, 1887
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (lower right): Carl Piloty / München
Alexander T. Stewart, New York (until d. 1876; commissioned from the artist); his widow, Cornelia M. Stewart, New York (1876–d. 1886; her estate sale, American Art Association, New York, March 23, 1887, no. 72, for $3,900 to Henry Hilton for Russell); Horace Russell, New York (1887; gift to The Met)
Cicerone. "Private Galleries: I. Collection of the Estate of Alexander Turney Stewart." Art Amateur 1 (June 1879), p. 6.
Cicerone. "Private Galleries: Collection of the Estate of Alexander Turney Stewart. III." Art Amateur (September 1879), pp. 74–75 [reprinted in Ref. Strahan 1879 and "The A. T. Stewart Collection. Second Notice," Art Amateur 16 (March 1887), p. 80], calls it "Triumph of Germanicus"; praises its narrative but criticizes its execution.
Edward Strahan [Earl Shinn], ed. The Art Treasures of America. Philadelphia, , vol. 1, pp. 24–26, 52, ill. (fragment of a design by P. D. Briscoe after this painting) [reprints Refs. Cicerone 1879], calls it "Thusnelda in the Triumph of Germanicus" in the list of works and "Triumph of Germanicus" or "Thusnelda" in the text.
"Art Notes." Critic (December 25, 1886), p. 320, calls it a replica of Piloty's "Thusnelda".
"Stewart's Art Treasures: Selling His Paintings at Auction." New York Times (March 24, 1887), p. 5, notes that it was sold to Judge Henry Hilton for $3,900.
Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur 18 (December 1887), p. 2, refers to it as the original study for the large version in Munich (Neue Pinakothek) [see Ref. Lankheit 1984].
"The Fine Arts: The Stewart Collection." Critic (February 26, 1887), p. 104.
"Another Princely Gift: Meissonier's Masterpiece Now the City's." New York Times (May 3, 1887), p. 1, notes that it was presented to the MMA several days ago by ex-Judge Horace Russell.
"Metropolitan Museum of Art." New York Evangelist (May 19, 1887), p. 7, states that it was purchased at the Stewart sale by Russell, and that Stewart himself had paid $8,000 for it; notes erroneously that a larger copy of our painting was made for the Emperor William [Wilhelm I] [see "Catalogue of the A. T. Stewart Collection," American Art Association, March 23–28, 1887, p. 62, no. 72, which states that the MMA painting was shown in Berlin at Wilhelm's request before being sent to the United States and adds that the Munich painting was executed after ours].
C. H. S. in Louise Pichler. Hermann and Thusnelda. A Tale of the First Century. New York, 1887, p. 3, calls it a duplicate of the Munich painting.
"The Fine Arts: Further Gifts to the Metropolitan Museum." Critic (May 7, 1887), p. 232.
Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur 17 (June 1887), p. 3.
Ripley Hitchcock. "New York's Art Museum." Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly 28 (December 1889), p. 672, calls it a small replica.
Champion Bissell. "Modern Pictures and the New York Market." Bedford's Monthly and Democratic Review 8 (February 1892), p. 686.
Arthur Hoeber. The Treasures of The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. New York, 1899, p. 93, ill. p. 98.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 78.
Klaus Lankheit. Karl von Piloty: Thusnelda im Triumphzug des Germanicus. Munich, 1984, p. 36 n. 20, fig. 25, dates it 1874; calls it a smaller repetition of the Munich painting, noting that it is an exact copy; surmises that Stewart saw the original painting at the Weltausstellung, Vienna, in 1873 and commissioned a reduced version, leading Piloty to enlist his student, Julius Benczur, to execute the MMA picture; notes that Piloty himself would have added the finishing touches and signed his name to our picture, in the manner of Rembrandt's workshop.
Claudia Härtl-Kasulke. Karl Theodor Piloty (1826–1886): Karl Theodor Pilotys Weg zur Historienmalerei 1826–1855. PhD diss., Universität Freiburg. Munich, 1991, pp. 177–78, no. II.4.39.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 235, ill.
Claudia Steinhardt-Hirsch inGrosser Auftritt: Piloty und die Historienmalerei. Ed. Reinhold Baumstark and Frank Büttner. Exh. cat., Neue Pinakothek, Munich. Cologne, 2003, p. 347, calls it another version of the painting in Munich (1873–74) and dates ours about 1874; reproduces numerous studies for the original painting (1863–70) and suggests that Piloty also referred to an 1858 oil sketch of the head of a Roman senator; discusses the influence of theatrical productions of the Thusnelda theme and the German national identification with Thusnelda.
This is a reduced replica of the painting commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1869 and exhibited in the Weltausstellung, Vienna, in 1873 (Neue Pinakothek, Munich). Steinhardt-Hirsch (2003) catalogues four oil studies and numerous drawings for the original painting.
Thusnelda, wife of the German prince Arminius, was delivered by her treacherous father, Segestes, to the victorious Roman army. This scene depicts Thusnelda and her three-year old son, Tumelicus, among a procession of German captives before Emperor Tiberius. Segestes is standing in shadow to the left of the Emperor. Germanicus enters beneath the triumphal arch in the background.
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