The J. Paul Getty Museum

Battle Before a Walled City

Object Details


Battle Before a Walled City


Unknown maker, Italian, Florentine School, 15th century




second half of 15th century


Tempera on panel

Object Number:



43.5 × 165.1 cm (17 1/8 × 65 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Object Description

Following from left to right, the episodes in this battle, identified as the siege of Troy, unfold. The figure on the extreme left underneath a royal tent may be the hero Achilles, holding his lance, covered with the rust that healed his wound. A battle rages outside the walls of Troy, presumably between Hector and the army of Achilles, and the victors enter the city at the upper right.

This painting formed the front panel of a cassone, or wedding chest. A cassone panel is nearly always recognizable by its shape, about four to six feet wide and a foot or eighteen inches in height. Large workshops in Florence, whose members generally have remained anonymous, probably produced most cassoni. Individual panels such as this one were often the work of more than one artist.

- 1930

Private Collection [sold, Galleria Ciardiello, Florence, Italy, December 10, 1930, lot 362.]

by 1940 -

Acquavella Galleries, Inc. (New York, New York)

1946 - 1953

Galleria Luigi Bellini (Florence, Italy), consigned to French and Company (New York, New York) by Giuseppe Bellini, 1946 - 1948; returned to Mario Bellini, 1948; sold to J. Paul Getty, 1953.

1953 - 1970

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Sutton Place, Surrey, England; Malibu, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1970.

Italian Paintings, XIV & XV Century (April 22 to May 22, 1940)
  • Acquavella Galleries, Inc. (New York), April 22 to May 22, 1940
Lorenzo il Magnifico e le Arti (May 21 to October 31, 1949)
  • Palazzo Strozzi (Florence), May 21 to October 31, 1949
To Do Battle: Conflict, Struggle and Symbol in Art (March 8 to July 8, 2002)
  • Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena), March 8 to July 8, 2002

Catalogo della vendita all'asta di una importante raccolta di arte antica e di quanto arredava (Florence: Galleria Ciardiello, 1930), p. 28, no. 362, fig. 1.

Italian Paintings, XIV and XV Century, exh. cat. (New York: Galleries Acquavella, with A. Cappabianca, 1940), unpaginated, no. 17, ill.

C[aviggioli], A. "Una fronte di Cassone di Paolo Uccello." Arte Figurative Antica e Moderna, no. 7 (January-February 1954), pp. 28-29, no. 7, figs. 1, 3, 4.

Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1954), p. 24.

Getty, J. Paul, and Ethel Le Vane. Collector's Choice: The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe (London: W. H. Allen, 1955), pp. 207, 227-30.

Fredericksen, Burton B. A Handbook of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1965), pp. 18 -19, pl. 8b.

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 86-87, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), pp. 9-10, no. 12.

Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), p. 222.

Callmann, Ellen. Apollonio di Giovanni (Oxford: Oxford Univerity Press, 1974), p. 86.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 64, ill.

Allan, Scott, Davide Gasparotto, Peter Björn Kerber, and Anne T. Woollett. Masterpieces of Painting: J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018), pp. 3, 6, ill.