T he Roman painter Andrea Sacchi was a leading champion of Baroque Classicism and his recently rediscovered painting, An Allegory of Rome, is a vital addition to his small body of works. Commissioned by Cardinal del Monte in the early 1620s, the work perfectly captures Sacchi’s singular style, defined by a rejection of the more exuberant aspects of the Roman High Baroque and a turn towards a tempered, Classical aesthetic reminiscent of the great French painter Nicolas Poussin. This unique masterpiece presents in staggering detail the core mythological attributes of the Eternal City – from the lean figure of the river god of the Tiber, to the dozing infant founders of the city, Romulus and Remus, and the towering figure of Rome herself with red flowing cape. The forthcoming auction of An Allegory of Rome, which is based on a red charcoal drawing held in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor, presents an unmissable opportunity for fresh insight into Sacchi’s celebrated output.
An Allegory of Rome
Click the Highlighted Areas of the Painting Below to Discover the Mythological Figures Who Founded the Eternal City
- Female Warrior
This personification of Rome and its military might dominates the scene, the warrior’s magnificent red cloak billowing above and her left hand clasping a spear.
- River God
The figure with his back turned is the river god of the Tiber. He leans against his urn, causing the water of the river to cascade out and form a health-giving stream for Rome.
- Romulus and Remus
Twin brothers Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome, are shown sleeping against and suckling from the she-wolf that raised them.
A pile of armour belonging to a defeated enemy lies abandoned in the bottom left of the painting, emphasising Rome’s literal and metaphorical triumph.
- Victory Figure
In Rome’s right hand is a golden statue of a winged figure representing Victory, who proffers her two symbolic attributes – a laurel wreath and a palm.