(b. 1395, Pisa, d. 1455, Roma)
Hanged Men and Two Portraits1430s
Metalpoint and pen on paper, 266 x 197 mm
British Museum, London
Pisanello drew these figures of hanged men as preparatory studies for his fresco of St George in Verona. Carefully observed and detailed, they depict one of the grimmer aspects of life in medieval and Renaissance Europe, where the executions of criminals were public events and where bodies or parts of bodies were left on view in the landscape or in designated parts of the city as warnings to the population at large against breaking the law.