TURCHI, Alessandro
(b. 1578, Verona, d. 1649, Roma)

Bellona with Romulus and Remus

Oil on canvas, 196 x 145 cm
Private collection

Bellona, a Roman war goddess, is variably known as the wife and sister of Mars, the Roman God of war, and in depicting her with Mars' children Romulus and Remus, Turchi has presented a classic Roman image of the highest order. Bellona is recognized by her typical attributes: a plumed helmet, metal breastplate, and spear. Rome's founders, Romulus and Remus, are immediately recognizable as they suckle the divine she-wolf that protects the infants after being cast away by their grandfather's brother, Amulius.

Turchi utilizes an overall a Caravaggesque lighting scheme, with a strong use of chiaroscuro in which the single source of light washes over the composition from top left, creating deep shadows in the folds of Bellona's flowing drapery. This dramatic lighting contrasts with a colourful palette and classicising figures, both inspired by Annibale Carracci and Domenichino.