Apelles Painting Campaspe

Francesco Trevisani (Italian, 1656-1746)
c. 1720-30
Oil on canvas 
29-3/8 x 23-7/8 in. (74.6 x 60.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
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.


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.

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