Peter Paul Rubens (after Leonardo Da Vinci): The Battle of Anghiari (1603)

(Louvre Museum, Paris, France)

This drawing is a copy of a fresco from Leonardo Da Vinci. The original fresco was made between 1504 and 1505 for Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and 2nd duke of Florence in his Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. Leonardo experimented with the process of painting the fresco but it resulted in a failure and Leonardo eventually abandoned the project. The unfinished fresco was lost when the room was redecorated in the mid-16th century. Fortunately a lot of studies of Leonardo for this project have survived and a copy of the central piece by another artist have survived. This drawing of Rubens was based upon such a copy so it shows us how the central piece of the original fresco should have looked. the depicted scene is the Battle of Anghiari, 29 June 1440. This battle was fought between the Duchy of Milan and the Italian League (a coalition of several states led by the Republic of Florence). The scene shows the most celebrated part of the battle in which knights of opposing sides fought a battle over a standard. Allegedly the persons depicted are (from left to right): Francesco Piccinino (an Italian condottiero), Niccolò Piccinino (also an Italian condottiero), Ludovico Trevisan (bishop of Traù and metropolitan bishop of Florence) and Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini (Prince of Taranto). Drawing from 1603.