Calumny of Apelles, c. 1500-1506



Bequest of Herschel V. Jonesexpand_more  P.68.236

Not on Viewexpand_more

Calumny of Apelles combines ideals of Renaissance art with an early view of the square outside the church of Saints Giovanni and Paolo in Venice. It responds to a challenge made by the 15th-century theorist Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) that artists should recreate a lost work by the Greek painter Apelles. Here, a king, advised by Suspicion and Ignorance, sits in judgment with the ears of a donkey. Led by Envy and followed by Deception and Treachery, Calumny (Slander) drags Innocence before the king. After the Piazza San Marco, this was the most important square at a time when the Republic's military confidence was at its peak. Andrea Verrocchio's (c. 1435-88) equestrian statue of Venetian mercenary captain Bartolommeo Colleoni (c. 1395/1400-75) was unveiled in the piazza in 1495, the year the plaza was paved.

Calumny of Apelles
Artist Life
(Venice), c. 1470–c. 1531
Accession Number
Colnaghi; Knoedler & Co., 1925
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind 12 iii/iii; B.10
Curator Approved

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