Skip to main content
The Combat of Love and Chastity
Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora
/

This balletic battle scene shows Chastity, the graceful woman in a billowing dress, defending herself against the golden arrows of Love, the athletic naked youth. The combat takes place on a summer day, and the only sign of commotion in nature is a swan, wings outstretched, in pursuit of its companion.

The battle of Love and Chastity was hugely important in Renaissance society, representing the suppression of illicit passion in favour of chaste and faithful devotion in marriage, particularly on the part of women. The theme came from a famous poem by the fourteenth-century Italian poet, Petrarch. Our panel was part of a larger series of paintings probably made to decorate the rooms of a newly wed couple.

Gherardo worked more often as a miniaturist and this is reflected in his attention to the smallest details. Chastity’s shield is beautifully embellished with gold and jewels, and a variety of wild flowers – like the white clover – bloom in the grass.

Key facts
Artist Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora
Artist dates 1444/5 - 1497
Full title The Combat of Love and Chastity
Date made probably 1475-1500
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 42.5 x 34.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1885
Inventory number NG1196
Location in Gallery Room 59
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo