This is one of a small group of Renaissance pageant shields painted on both their interiors and exteriors with scenes from Roman history and Classical mythology in grisaille (tones of gray) on a ground of gold leaf. Many of the details are rendered in sgraffito (the technique of scratching through a surface to reveal a different color underneath, in this case, gold). The gold thus exposed is impressed with comma-shaped marks to heighten its light-reflecting quality. Girolamo da Treviso was one of the few sixteenth-century artists to employ the demanding sgraffito technique, which had gone out of fashion by the late fifteenth century.
The battle scenes on the inside of the shield, perhaps illustrating episodes from the life of the Roman general Scipio, show a keen observation of Classical costume and armor, both of which were known from antique sculpture and coins. The style of painting, the physical types, and the energetic poses are strongly indebted to Giulio Romano (about 1499–1546), who was Raphael's assistant and later was the court painter to the dukes of Mantua. Girolamo da Treviso worked with Giulio in Mantua in 1527.
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Maker:Attributed to Girolamo da Treviso (Italian, Treviso ca. 1498–1544 Boulogne-sur-Mer)
Culture:Italian, probably Bologna
Medium:Wood, linen, gesso, gold leaf, polychromy
Dimensions:Diam. 24 5/8 in. (62.53 cm), D. approx. 4 3/4 in. (12 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Stephen V. Grancsay, 1942
Clarence H. Mackay, New York (until d. 1938; his estate, sold through Jacques Seligmann & Co. to Grancsay); Stephen V. Grancsay, New York (by January 14, 1941–42; his gift to MMA).
London. Oplotheca No. 20, Lower Brook Street, Bond Street, London. "Catalogue of a Most Splendid and Instructive Collection of Antient Armour exhibiting at the Oplotheca," 1816, no. 108.
London. Gothic Hall. "Catalogue of the Splendid Collection of Ancient Armour, (Lately Exhibited in Lower Brook Street) with Numerous Additions, of mor," 1818, no. 126.
London. Gothic Hall, Pall Mall. "A Grand Collection of Antient Arms and Armour," 1819, no. 132.
London. South Kensington Museum. "Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Medieval, Renaissance and More Recent Periods," June, 1862, no. 4686 (lent by Sir Adam Hay, Bart.).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor," August 3–September 27, 1931, no. 101.
Oplotheca No. 20, Lower Brook Street, Bond Street, London. Catalogue of a ... Collection of Antient Armour Exhibiting at the Oplotheca, No. 20 Lower Brook Street, Bond Street: Forming a Series from the Norman Conquest, Including ... Shields, Helmets, Swords, Etc. .... London: Smith and Davy, 1816. no. 108.
Oplotheca No. 20, Lower Brook Street, Bond Street, London and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. Catalogue of a Most Splendid and Instuctive [sic] Collection of Antient Armor: Exhibiting at the Oplotheca.. London: Smith and Davy, 1817. no. 108.
Gothic Hall. Catalogue of the Splendid Collection of Ancient Armor: The Collection Comprises Specimens from the Norman Conquest to the Latest Periods. London: J. Davy & Sons, 1818. no. 126.
Gothic Hall. Catalogue of a Splendid Collection of Military Antiquities, Comprising the Most Rare and Interesting Specimens of Arms and Armour from the Norman Conquest to the Latest Periods. 4th ed. London, 1819. no. 132.
Gothic Hall. Catalogue of a Splendid Collection of Military Antiquities: Comprising the Most Rare and Interesting Specimens of Arms and Armour from the Norman Conquest to the Latest Periods. 6th ed. London: J. Davy & Sons, 1820. no. 132.
Royal Armoury. Royal Armoury, Hay-Market: Catalogue. London: J. Davy & Sons, September 1821. no. 60.
Robins, George. Military Antiquities: Ancient Armour and Implements of War of Almost Every Nation, All the Specimens Formerly Exhibited in the Gothic Hall, Pall Mall…1833 June 10-11. London, June 10–11, 1833. no. 158.
Robinson, J. C., ed. Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Mediæval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods, on Loan at the South Kensington Museum, June 1862. London: South Kensington Museum, 1862. no. 4686.
Victoria and Albert Museum and Sir John Charles Robinson. Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Mediæval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods: On Loan at the South Kensington Museum, June 1862. London: George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1863. no. 4686.
Laking, Guy Francis, Charles A. de Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. IV. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920–1922. pp. 237–38, fig. 1309.
Grancsay, Stephen V. Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 3 to September 27, 1931. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. no. 101.
Blair, Claude. Arms, Armour and Base-Metalwork: The James A. De Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor. Fribourg: Office du Livre, 1974. pp. 46–48, no. 9.
Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 1991), pp. 26, 64.
Pyhrr, Stuart W., and Everett Fahy. "A Renaissance Painted Shield Attributed to Girolamo da Treviso." In Studies in European Arms and Armor: The C. Otto von Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1992. pp. 113–16.
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