Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Engraver: Unknown
After: Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Italian, Florence, ca.1432–1498

Battle of the Nudes

ca. 1490

Engraving

40 x 58 cm (15 3/4 x 22 13/16 in.), framed: 63.5 x 78.74 x 3.81 cm (25 x 31 x 1 1/2 in.)
Maitland F. Griggs, B.A. 1896, Fund
1951.9.18
Antonio del Pollaiuolo’s image of ten naked men battling is an icon of Italian Renaissance printmaking, and the Yale University Art Gallery’s impression is one of the best in America. It has been suggested that the composition illustrates an episode from Roman history or that it commemorates the death of a notable contemporary Florentine, but no explanation has found general acceptance. Whatever the iconographic content, the energetically gesturing figures are typical of the artist, as can be seen by a comparison of the engraving with the Gallery’s painting by Pollaiuolo, Hercules and Deianira (1871.42); the archer at upper left in the print could almost be Hercules in the painting, turned to be seen from the front.
Culture: 
Italian
Period: 
15th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Status: 
Viewable by appointment
Bibliography: 

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 134, 139, fig. 137.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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