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Italian, North, 'A Battle', probably 1530s

Key facts
Full title A Battle
Artist Italian, North
Date made probably 1530s
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 71.1 × 94.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1879
Inventory number NG1062
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Battle
Italian, North

An unidentified battle rages before a mountainous landscape. The picture may be a later copy of one of the lost frescoes by Piero della Francesca in the ducal palace in Ferrara. Leonello d’Este (1407–1450), Marquis of Ferrara, appears to be portrayed in profile at bottom left, suggesting that he may have commissioned the frescoes.

There is another possibly related battle scene in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, which is of a similar size but lesser quality than the National Gallery’s painting. The costumes in both pictures point to a date in the 1530s but other details seem to reflect an earlier style. The paintings were probably both produced around Dosso Dossi’s workshop in Ferrara, but possibly not by the same artist. They may represent scenes of ancient history or exploits of the house of Este associated with French chivalric legends.

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