Battle Between Romans and Gauls

mid-15th century

Artist: Giovanni di ser Giovanni Guidi
Italian, 1406-1486, active in Florence

Oil on panel, 17 x 61 1/2 in. (43.2 x 156.2 cm)

This panel is probably from a wedding chest or cassone in Italian. It is typical of a type of painting used to decorate ornate and expensive pieces of furniture used to transport a bride's trousseau to her new home on the occasion of her marriage. The scene shows a battle between the armored Romans, identified by their banners bearing the initials S.P.Q.R., and barbaric, nude, wild-looking Frenchmen, or Gauls, whose banner sports a rooster. The white horse on the left bears the arms of a branch of the Medici family. Thus, the panel was probably made for an ally or aspiring friend of the Medici hoping to demonstrate a close relationship to the politically influential clan.

Bequest of John Ringling, 1936, SN13