The Battle of Vercellae

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 600

Teutonic or Germanic invaders crossed the Alps into northern Italy, near Venice, around 105 BCE. Tiepolo’s painting represents their defeat by the forces of the Roman Empire under general Marius, who appears in the painting at the center of this gallery. This is one of ten canvases executed for the Venetian palazzo of the Delfin family, who had been important statesmen and military figures in Venice since the 1600s. This theatrical reimagining of the ancient past, with bloody swords and fallen soldiers, proclaims the integrity of an Italian homeland. Tiepolo’s paintings originally were installed below a ceiling painting by Niccolò Bambini depicting the glorification of Venice attended by the Delfin family.

The Battle of Vercellae, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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