Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 16961770)
Oil on canvas; Irregular painted surface, 220 x 128 5/8 in. (558.8 x 326.7 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1965 (65.183.1)
The subject of this triumphal procession is identified by a Latin inscription at the top of the canvas from the Roman historian Lucius Anneus Florus (Epitome of Roman History, 36:17): "The Roman people behold Jugurtha laden with chains." The African king Jugurtha is shown descending a hill before his captor, the Roman general Gaius Marius. A youth beats a tambourine while other figures carry booty, including a bust of the mother goddess Cybele. The thirty-year-old Tiepolo included his portrait among the figures at the left. The procession was held on January 1, 104 B.C. The picturea masterpiece of Tiepolo's early maturityis from a series of ten canvases painted about 172529 to decorate the main room of the Ca' Dolfin, Venice.