Apelles Painting Campaspe
c. 1720-30
Francesco Trevisani (Italian, 1656-1746)
Not on View

Pliny the Elder wrote that Campaspe was the favorite mistress of Alexander the Great, and that Apelles was his favorite painter. Alexander asked him to paint a full-length portrait of Campaspe nude. In so doing, Apelles fell in love with her. Seeing this, Alexander gave up his mistress to the painter. The idea behind Alexander’s gesture is that love inspired by beauty is most appreciated by the one who discerns it best. This story was embraced by painters to demonstrate that they were the best judges of beauty.


  • Artist Name: Francesco Trevisani (Italian, 1656-1746)
  • Title: Apelles Painting Campaspe
  • Date: c. 1720-30
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 29-3/8 x 23-7/8 in. (74.6 x 60.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1968.11.16.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Paul Briegleb, Munich, sold 6 June 1957 to;
[Julius Boehler, Munich, sold July, 1959 to];
[Elisabeth M. Drey, London.]
Morris I. Kaplan, Chicago, by 1960 (sale, London, Sotheby’s, 12 June 1968, lot 99, ill., to);
The Norton Simon Foundation.

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969-09-22 to
  • Waterhouse, Ellis K., Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, pp. 12-13
  • DiFederico, Frank R., Francesco Trevisani, Eighteenth-Century Painter in Rome: A Catalogue Raisonné,no. 33, pl. 27
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 485 p. 303
  • McCorquodale, Charles, The Connoisseur, pp. 209, 215
  • Gioseffe, G., Pagine Istriane, pp. 107-116
  • Griseri, Andreina, Paragone, pp. 28-37
  • DiFederico, Frank R., Art Bulletin, pp. 52-67
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