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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506)

The Triumphs of Caesar: 1. The Picture-Bearers c.1484-92

RCIN 403958

Lower Orangery/Mantegnas, Hampton Court Palace

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This painting is one of nine canvases known as The Triumphs of Caesar, which can be counted amongst the finest achievements in Italian Renaissance art. They were probably painted for Franceso II Gonzaga (1466-1519), who became the 4th Marquis of Mantua in 1484. The nine paintings form a sequence, which should really be called the ‘Triumph of Caesar’, because it depicts a single procession, culminating in this final episode - the arrival of Julius Caesar borne on a chariot passing in front of a triumphal arch. The procession cannot be connected with a particular campaign, which is probably why it was seen more generally to celebrate the triumphs of Julius Caesar (c.102-44 BC), an ancient Roman soldier, statesman and historian revered during the Renaissance.