Coriolanus persuaded by his Family to spare Rome

This is one of a series of edifying historical, legendary and allegorical subjects painted in a room in the Petrucci palace in Siena in about 1509. Two others - 'Penelope with the Suitors' by Pintoricchio and 'The Triumph of Chastity' also by Signorelli - are in the National Gallery.

Here, the Volscians are besieging Rome. Their general is the exiled Roman, Coriolanus, who appears on the right, crowned with a wreath. He encounters a deputation of Roman matrons who come to beg him to spare Rome. They are led by Valeria (on the left), his mother Volumnia (with raised hand) and his wife Virgilia, who carries one of her children, while another child runs to greet him (Plutarch, 'Life of Coriolanus').

The paintings were much damaged when detached from the wall - hence the crumbly surface.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1440/50 - 1523
Full title
Coriolanus persuaded by his Family to spare Rome
Date made
about 1509
Medium and support
Fresco, detached and mounted on canvas
125.7 x 125.7 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Three Frescoes from Palazzo del Magnifico, Siena