Royal Castle in Warsaw: acquisition
BERTUCCI THE ELDER'S DESCO AT THE ROYAL CASTLE IN WARSAW.
From next February, the Royal Castle in Warsaw will receive into its permanent collections the exquisite octagonal panel we presented for the first time on the occasion of our new branch opening in Milan, representing Julius Caesar receiving the head of Pompey by the Faentine artist Giovanni Battista Bertucci the Elder.
Published in 1915 by Paul Schubring in his monumental essay devoted to Italian coffers as a work of Girolamo Marchesi da Cotignola (1480 c.-1550 c.); our painting was rightly correctly referred to Bertucci by Bernard Berenson in the late 1920s (Berenson Library, Villa I Tatti Photo Library, Florence).
Datable around 1495/1500, the painting is a desco probably executed to commemorate a political or diplomatic event, as suggested by Oskar Fischel in the catalogue of Joseph Spiridon's Parisian collection, to whom the work belonged in the past. This hypothesis is confirmed by the depicted subject, described by Plutarch in the Life of Pompey (LXXXVII) and inspired by the episodes of the Roman civil war between Caesar and Pompey (49-45 BC).