This picture is part of a series representing the seven Liberal Arts, of which two others (formerly Berlin, destroyed 1945) represented 'Astronomy', and 'Grammar' - where the kneeling figure was identified as Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino (1422 - 1482). The inscription across the background of this picture refers to him. The kneeling youth may be intended to represent the Duke's son Guidobaldo, perhaps in the role of Cicero. Rhetoric, dressed richly and exotically, points to a passage in an open book. A fourth picture, 'Music', is also in the Collection.

The series was made for one of the palaces of the Duke of Urbino, conceivably for the library at Castel Durante.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
active about 1460 - 1480
Full title
Rhetoric
Date made
probably 1470s
Medium and support
Oil on poplar
Dimensions
157.2 x 105.2 cm
Inscription summary
Inscribed
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1866
Inventory number
NG755
Location in Gallery