Gian Antonio Pellegrini (Venice 1675 – 1741), Scipio’s magnanimity

Artist: GIAN ANTONIO PELLEGRINI (Venice 1675 – 1741)
Title: Scipio’s magnanimity
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 105 x 130 cm
Period: 1700

The painting depicts an episode in the life of Scipio The African, who is mentioned for the first time in Livio (26.50), mentioned again in Polybius (10, 17, 19) and rhymed in Petrarch (Africa, 4, 375-388). The Roman leader Scipio, having conquered the Spanish city of New Carthage, is being offered a young woman as part of his victor’s booty. But upon learning that the girl has been betrothed, Scipio summons Allucio, the man she was supposed to marry, and returns her to him, along with the sum of ransom that the girl’s relatives had managed to scrape together and offered to him, in the hopes of freeing her. This was a rather popular theme in Venetian painting between the 17th and 18th century.

The most evident compositional and thematic prototype, which inspired many others, is to be found in the paintings of Sebastiano Ricci at Palazzo Marucelli-Fenzi in Florence and at the National Gallery of Parma …

Click HERE for a full description in the Catalogue of Italian painting from the 17th to 18th century 2014, pg. 50-51