The Departure of the Argonauts
On loan from The Mari Cha Collection Limited, © The Mari Cha Collection Limited

This picture, like Bartolomeo di Giovanni’s The Argonauts in Colchis, was made in honour of the marriage of Lorenzo Tornabuoni (Lorenzo de’ Medici’s cousin) to the virtuous Giovanna degli Albizzi. It hung in Lorenzo’s chamber in his family’s Florentine palace: his private room, where he might entertain special guests, as well as sleep with his wife.

The highly-educated Lorenzo Tornabuoni was particularly interested in the ancient Greek legends of Jason and his Argonauts. Here, the Argonauts leave Jason’s home of Argos, and prepare to set sail in search of the Golden Fleece. This would enable Jason to reclaim his kingdom from his uncle Pelias (before whom we see Jason kneeling in the picture).

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1452 - 1509
Full title
The Departure of the Argonauts
Date made
1487
Medium and support
Oil on wood
Dimensions
83.8 × 163.8 cm
Acquisition credit
On loan from The Mari Cha Collection Limited
Inventory number
L1176
Location in Gallery