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Circle of Hendrick Goltzius (Müklbracht 1558-1617 Haarlem)
Circle of Hendrick Goltzius (Müklbracht 1558-1617 Haarlem)

Marcus Curtius

Details
Circle of Hendrick Goltzius (Müklbracht 1558-1617 Haarlem)
Marcus Curtius
oil on canvas
46 1/8 x 41 ¼ in. (118.2 x 104.5 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, London, 3 December 2008, lot 126, when acquired by the present owner.

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Lot Essay

This heroic equestrian figure is taken from Hendrick Goltzius’ series of ten engravings of Roman Heroes, dated 1586. They were dedicated to Emperor Rudolf II and consisted of eight heroes, taken from Livy’s History of Rome, along with an allegorical frontispiece and end page, all accompanied by verses composed by Franco Estius. This picture is taken from the fourth hero in the series, Marcus Curtius. Livy relates how a chasm appeared one day in the forum. The worried populus consulted the oracles who warned that Rome would perish unless the city threw that which was its greatest strength into the ravine. Curtius took it upon himself to mount a horse and ride into the chasm, thereby saving the Republic.

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