Dosso Dossi: Aeneas and Achates on the Libyan Coast (1520)

(National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA)

This painting is a part of a serie which depict scenes from the adventures of Aeneas. Aeneas is a Trojan hero and the son of prince Anchises and the goddess Venus. According to the Aeneid by Virgil, Aeneas and a small group escaped the destruction of Troy. After a series of adventures, the group eventually settles in Italy were they became the progenitors of the Romans. This painting shows an episode were Aeneas and his close friend Achates are shipwrecked off the coast of Libya and cast up at Carthage (the city in the background). Dossi dresses the characters in 15th century clothing, even including 2 Landsknechte (15th/ 16th century German mercenaries) at the right, each is carrying a Zweihänder. This painting is from around 1520.