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Dido Accosts the Departing Aeneas

Dido Accosts the Departing Aeneas, c. 1646

Giovanni Francesco Romanelli
Italian, 1612-1662
Gouache and black chalk on paper, laid down on canvas
109-5/8 x 138-1/2 in. (278.4 x 351.8 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

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Dido, who has seen Aeneas' men preparing for the voyage, confronts him in sorrow and anguish. Aeneas points rather sheepishly to the ships and explains his divine mission: he leaves not according to his own free will, but at the command of Jupiter, to found the kingdom of Italy. The grisaille relief of Cupid presenting a vase to a woman (in the background) is a cold echo of the magic banquet scene and the gifts that first impassioned Dido.

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