Two spalliera paintings of Roman monuments in the Galleria Colonna

Luba Freedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two spalliera paintings present, in a singularly innovative fashion, two significant episodes from the history of ancient Rome: the Rape of the Sabine Women, and the subsequent Reconciliation of the Romans and Sabines. This article supports Bernard Berenson's attribution of the paintings to Bartolomeo di Giovanni, and dates them to 1488. The innovative character of these paintings consists not only in the inclusion of all'antica costumes and objects, but also in the placement of a series of Roman landmarks in the background. The argument that these paintings were commissioned to celebrate the nozze between Lucrezia di Lorenzo de' Medici and Jacopo di Piero Salviati, makes clear the significance of the choice of monuments and their representation as intact architectural structures (done with the assistance of Giuliano da Sangallo, Lorenzo de' Medici's preferred architect). The paintings reflect the aspirations of the two families to play a significant political as well as financial role in papal Rome.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)349-382
Number of pages34
JournalViator - Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • Arch of constantine
  • Coliseum
  • Column of marcus aurelius
  • Flavio biondo
  • Jacopo salviati
  • Lucrezia de' medici
  • Obelisk
  • Pantheon
  • Porta ostiensis
  • Pyramid
  • Romulus
  • SPQR
  • Sabine women


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