Study for the Age of Bronze

Pietro da Cortona (Pietro Berrettini) Italian

Not on view

This rapid sketch of a Roman military triumph was intended for a fresco painting alluding to the theme of the "Age of Bronze" in the Camera della Stufa of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence that Cortona began in 1637 for Ferdinando II de' Medici. According to the account of the early history of the world given in Ovid's Metamorphoses, the Age of Bronze was thought to have been bellicose in spirit: "...ready to fly to arms savage, but not yet impious." In keeping with this Ovidian theme, the composition here is dominated at the right by an enthroned general, who from a high throne leans forward to crown the victorious soldiers of the Roman legions approaching from the left; on the lower right, nude prisoners dejectedly crouch in bondage. The Museum's vast collection of drawings by the Baroque master Pietro da Cortona includes a second study for the "Age of Bronze" (see inv. no. 1972.118.248)

Study for the Age of Bronze, Pietro da Cortona (Pietro Berrettini) (Italian, Cortona 1596–1669 Rome), Pen and brown ink, over black chalk

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