(b. ca. 1542, Vicenza, d. ca. 1617, Venezia)
Battle of Lepanto1603
Oil on canvas
Palazzo Ducale, Venice
The Battle of Lepanto, the famous naval battle against the Turks, took place in 1571 and concluded with the victory of the Venetians and its allies over the enemies of Christianity, who seemed by now invincible in the eyes of all the European nations. The painting represents the realistic and symbolic victory after many years of bitterness, sacrifice and humiliation especially for Venice, which under Turkish pressure had to give up many lands, ports and commercial affairs over the years with the evident consequence of the rapid and continuous loss of power and wealth.
The entire painting is a frenetic encounter between ships hooked in mortal assaults on the decks boarded by enemy armies; they pursue or ram each other in a desperate attempt to annihilate one another. At the centre of the painting, and as its protagonists, are the two adversary admirals: the Venetian Sebastiano Venier and the Turk Ali Pasha.