FUNGAI, Bernardino
(b. 1460, Siena, d. 1516, Siena)

The Magnanimity of Scipio Africanus

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Oil and tempera on panel, 62 x 166 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The subject on this panel from a cassone (wedding chest) was popular in the Renaissance period. Fungai combines three successive episodes in Livy's account of the hero's irreproachable treatment of the vanquished during the Second Punic War. Soldiers in the right-hand portion are shown bringing a beautiful female prisoner a gift to Scipio. Upon learning that the girl was betrothed, Scipio returned her to her parents and fiancé. The couple who commissioned the painting may have wanted to hold up Scipio as an example to their son-in-law.