The Battle of Anghiari - unknown Florentine master of the 1460s
'Battle of Anghiari (1440)', painted cassone chest by school of Uccello. In this battle the Venetians and Florentines under Sforza defeated the Milanese under Piccinino.
Unknown Artist, Florence, 15th century, Italian, 1460s
Title: The Battle of Anghiari
Date: late 1460s
Medium: Tempera and gold leaf on poplar panel
Dimensions: 62.4 x 207.5 cm
Credit Line: Bequeathed, Sir Hugh Lane, 1918
Object Number: NGI.778
Provenance: Collection Charles Butler, Esq.; bequeathed, Sir Hugh Lane, 1918
These two decorative panels (NGI.778 & NGI.780) illustrate famous Florentine victories. The defeat of the Milanese army on the river Tiber, near Anghiari, on 29 June 1440, made Florence the rulers of Tuscany.
This is the earliest depiction of the battle and may have influenced Leonardo da Vinci’s lost fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
The siege of Pisa lasted eight months and ended on 9 October 1406. the Florentines entered the city with bread on their lances for the starving inhabitants, as seen being prepared in the foreground of the painting.
The unknown artist captures both the pageantry and brutality of Renaissance war and carefully identifies the various towns, even including the famous ‘leaning’ Tower of Pisa.
The scenes not only celebrate two key Florentine victories against neighbouring powers but they also pay tribute to members of the Capponi family, who contributed on both occasions to the success of the city’s cause, and for whom these panels may have been painted.
This panel, painted by an unknown Italian artist, depicts the Florentine victory over the Milanese army on 29 June 1440. The battle took place on the river Tiber, near the Tuscan town of Anghiari.
This decisive victory resulted in Florence gaining control of Tuscany. The panel forms a pair with another painting depicting the Florentine victory over Pisa.
The panels may have functioned as spalliere: scenes in a decorative cycle of wall panelling in a Florentine interior. Alternatively, they may have formed part of a cassone: a decorated wooden chest.
This lively picture is full of detail, including the fleur de lis, the symbol of Florence.
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
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