Oil on canvas.
Expert analysis: Dr. Dario Succi, Gorizia.
Antonio Bellucci studied in Venice under the tutelage of Andrea Celesti, Pietro Liberi, and Antonio Zanchi. He also resided for some time at the court of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatinate. His work is represented in galleries across Europe.
In Pliny the Elder’s work Historia naturalis from the first century AD, we read that the Macedonian king Alexander the Great brought his favourite concubine to the famous artist Apelles to have her portrait painted. On this occasion, Apelles fell in love with her, and when the king discovered this, he generously gave his favourite mistress to the esteemed painter as a gift for his loyal service.
The painting is characterised by bright colours and loose figurative expression, typical of the artist. Here the artist has captured the moment when Alexander tells the artist that he is happy to leave his mistress with him. The ruler is garbed in a red cloak and helmet. Campaspe, partially clothed in blue pleated drapery with modestly downcast eyes, plays with her hair while Apelles stares at her. The painter wears rich robes, holding a few brushes in his hand. In the background, a vista with architecture and the landscape is indicated.