Tapestry: Scipio Rescuing his Father at the Battle of Ticinus (from the series The Story of Scipio Africanus)

Flemish
Second half of the 16th century or first quarter of the 17th century


Object Place: Brussels, Flanders

Dimensions

350 x 518 cm (137 13/16 x 203 15/16 in.)

Accession Number

19.60

Medium or Technique

Tapestry weave (wool warp; wool and silk wefts)

Not On View

Collections

Europe, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Textiles

The subject of this tapestry derives from various accounts of the deeds of Publius Cornelius Scipio, called the African, during the Second Punic War (219-201BC). The scene is a battlefield. In the foreground, a man struggles to rise from the ground and free himself from his horse which has fallen under him. He is indentified by an inscription on the hem of his tunic as C.SCEIPON. Another man, standing behind the fallen figure, helps him to rise. The valian rider is his son Scipio Africanus, labeled SCIPON on the hem of his tunic. Two other men, one striding forward to right of center and the other mounted above and behind the fallen rider, ward off the attacks of enemy cavalry and troops.
The wide borders on each side show a figure of Diana, with a cresent on her forehead, and a sheath of arrows slung over one shoulder, below this is a figure of Jupiter wearing a crown and holding a sceptre in one hand and thunderbolts in the other. In the lower border is Juno with her peacock. Balancing this is a seated figure of Venus with Cupid; in addition are cherubs, fruit, flowers and a medallion. The upper border contains similar bouquets and the following inscription: SERVAVIT IVVENIS PATREM VECTUMQ [E] CABALLO REDDIT, QUI POENO VVLNERE LAPSUS ERAT (“The young man saved his his father and brought him back borne on a horse, For he had fallen from a Punic wound.”)

Provenance

Purchased in Spain by Arthur Astor Carey between 1884 and 1887. Purchased from Arthur Astor Carey, Boston, with the Richard Black Sewall Fund, February 27, 1919.

Credit Line

Richard Black Sewall, Fund