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Pietro de' Pietri (1663-1716)

Apelles painting Campaspe c. 1700

Black chalk, washed over in places | 32.2 x 16.3 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 905648

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Alexander the Great asked his court artist Apelles to paint a portrait of his concubine, Campaspe, but while doing so Apelles fell in love with her. Alexander intuited from the painting that Apelles' love for Campaspe was greater than his own, so he kept the painting but magnanimously gave Campaspe to the painter. The episode combines themes of the power of art and the generosity of a patron, and in commissioning a painting of the subject a collector could demonstrate that he was conscious of both.
  • Creator(s)

    Pietro de' Pietri (1663-1716) (artist)

  • 32.2 x 16.3 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Probably acquired by George III in 1762 as part of the collection of Cardinal Alessandro Albani; first recorded in a Royal Collection inventory of c.1800-1820 (Inv. A, p.110: among 21 'Ditto of Pietro de Petris. And five of the School of Carlo Maratti')