MASTER of the Story of Griselda
(active 1490s in Siena)
Oil on panel, 88 x 46 cm
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan
Artemisia was the wife of Mausolus, the satrap of Caria in Asia Minor. She succeeded her husband on his death in 353 B.C., and erected a great monument to his memory at Halicarnassus - hence 'mausoleum'. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was said that she mixed the ashes of Mausolus in liquid which she then drank, thereby making herself, observes Valerius Maximus, making of herself a living, breathing tomb. Artemisia symbolizes a widow's devotion to her husband's memory. In Renaissance painting she is depicted holding a cup or goblet.
This painting, attributed to an anonymous Sienese master referred to as the Master of the Story of Griselda, was probably commissioned on the occasion of a wedding. The figures of this artist are characterized by an elongated body and almost dancing movement. The artist was influenced by Luca Signorelli who worked in Siena in this period.