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35: The Large Italian Skylight Hall


Mucius Scaevola Before Porsenna

Circa 1730

Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista

Dionisio Dolfin, Patriarch of Aquileia, commissioned a series of ten paintings on themes from Roman history (five of which are now in the Hermitage) for his Venetian palace, known as the Ca' Dolfin.

The event shown here took place in around 507 BC, during the war between Rome and the Etruscans (Livy, Roman History, II, 12). Gaius Mucius managed to escape from the besieged city into the camp of the Etruscan king Porsenna, with the intention of killing him. Caught by the Etruscans, he was to be tortured with fire, but he proclaimed: "He who sees before him magnificent glory puts little value on his body" and thrust his right hand into the flame. Amazed by the young Roman's bravery, Porsenna set him free and removed the siege.

The event shown here took place in around 507 BC, during the war between Rome and the Etruscans (Livy, Roman History, II, 12). Gaius Mucius managed to escape from the besieged city into the camp of the Etruscan king Porsenna, with the intention of killing him. Caught by the Etruscans, he was to be tortured with fire, but he proclaimed: "He who sees before him magnificent glory puts little value on his body" and thrust his right hand into the flame. Amazed by the young Roman's bravery, Porsenna set him free and removed the siege.

The other paintings from this series in the Hermitage are Quintus Fabius Maximus Before the Senate at Carthage, The Triumph of Manius Curius Dentatus, Coriolanius at the Walls of Rome, and The Dictatorship Offered to Cincinnatus.

 

 

 

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