Apollonio di Giovanni
- Apollonio di Giovanni
- Triumph of Marcus Furius Camillus, a cassone panel
- tempera and gold leaf on panel
Seized by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg from the Chateau de Ferrières (inv. no. BOR 58);
In the holdings of the German Embassy, Paris;
Recovered by the Monuments Men at the Buxheim Monastery, Bavaria, and restituted to the Rothschild family 1946/7 (chest number 134);
From whom most probably acquired directly by the father of the present owner.
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The chest would be decorated with scenes from ancient history, the Old Testament, or from contemporary literature, such as Petrarch, Boccaccio or Dante. The episodes depicted were expected to impart a moral message to which the couple and their family should aspire to follow and the subject would be carefully selected to reflect not only the family’s intellectual prowess but also their personal values. Here, we see the triumphant return of Marcus Furius Camillus, riding in a standing position in the golden chariot; he can be identified by the remains of the inscription above his head, · M · F · CHAMMI[…]. The spelling of “Chammillus” reflects the soft pronunciation of the letter “c” in Florentine dialect and can be seen again in the inscription indicating the Campidoglio at left. Camillus, a Roman soldier and statesman, was lauded for his four great victories against the Aequi, Volsci, Etruscans and Gauls, and was named “Second Founder of Rome” for his restoration of power following the sacking of Rome in 390 BC.3 Camillus was not only powerful and victorious but was fair, introducing pay for his army. Conscious of the struggles of the plebeian class, he was an ideal moralistic model for the groom. The Roman general is preceded in the procession by carriages laden with the spoils of war, a reference to the hopeful prosperity of the newlyweds. Apollonio represents the city of Rome with a typically idiosyncratic approach to topography, juxtaposing its most famed and recognisable monuments, each labelled in an inscription above, in a charming attempt at persective.
1. C. Campbell, Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence: the Courtauld wedding chests, teachers’ resource, London 2009, p. 2.
3. "Marcus Furius Camillus", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, online academic edition, 2013.