CROSATO, Giovanni Battista
(b. ca. 1685, Treviso, d. 1758, Venezia)

Apelles Making a Portrait of the Courtesan Campaspe

1756-58
Fresco
Villa Marcello, Levada di Piombino Dese

This scene is one the two scenes on the wall opposite to the entrance to the ballroom. It is an ironic, piquant depiction of Apelles at work painting a portrait of the King's lover, the beautiful courtesan Campaspe, who sits before him. Alexander, standing nearby, appears to be offering advice, clearly not requested, to the famous painter. So beautiful is Campaspe (even the little white dog notices and touches her lightly with its paw) that the artist, while painting her portrait, will fall hopelessly in love with her, and the Macedonian king, exhibiting his great generosity, will give the woman to Apelles on the spot.