(b. 1655, Venezia, d. 1730, Villabona)

Dido and the Bull's Hide

Oil on canvas, 115 x 161 cm
Private collection

The subject of Dido and the bull's hide is taken from the Aeneid and illustrates both the ingenuity of Dido and tells the story of the founding of Carthage. After fleeing Tyre and landing on the shores of North Africa, Dido bartered with the local king Iarbas to acquire some land. Attempting to drive a hard bargain, Iarbas agreed to give Dido as much land as the hide of a bull could cover. However, Dido cut a bull's hide into thin strips and used them to outline a large area of land, thereby outwitting Iarbas and securing some living space for her and her followers. It was on that site that Dido built Carthage and became its queen.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.