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The Triumph of Caesar

Artist/Maker: Jacopo Palma il Vecchio (Italy, ca. 1479-1528)

Date: ca. 1510
Medium: oil on wood
Sight: 27 3/8 x 57 3/8 in. (69.5 x 145.7 cm)
Framed: 32 3/4 x 62 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (83.2 x 158.8 x 11.4 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Object number: 61.027.000
DescriptionThe Triumph of Caesar depicts the Roman general Julius Caesar being carried in procession, seated on a high dais adorned with an eagle, a symbol of imperial power, wearing a crown of laurel symbolizing victory, and carrying a sword, emphasizing his military prowess. The general is accompanied by his victorious troops and attendants, dressed in sixteenth-century clothing, waving banners and blowing trumpets. The caravan is about to enter the city of Rome where Julius Caesar will be acclaimed by the populace and celebratory games and feasts will ensue. Among the crowd are two captives, swarthy men with turbans, and an elephant, the tail end of which appears at far right of the painting; these minor details suggest that the artist may have intended to represent Casesar’s military victory in Africa or Pontus, a region on the coast of modern-day Turkey. In Renaissance Italy, Julius Caesar was considered the greatest general of the classical world and a model for contemporary military leaders and rulers. Moreover, Renaissance processions emulated the great classical tradition of the triumphal return.
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