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The Assault on Verona by Bartolomeo

Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) deliberately associated himself with the trappings of medieval feudalism. Calling himself the “last knight,” he composed a semi-autobiographical poem called Der Weisskunig (The White King), which recounts the glorious history of Maximilian and his ancestors. Evoking a bygone world of medieval romance and glory, Weisskunig was illustrated by Hans Burgkmair and other artists with more than two hundred images. To recount the military and political accomplishments of Maximilian, Weisskunig featured innumerable battle scenes, portraying them as glorious epic struggles in which heroes vanquished the weak. Maximilian’s outlook was replaced in the seventeenth century with a much more pragmatic view of warfare, which in turn was followed by an overtly critical view of war as an arena for human cruelty.

Hans Burgkmair the elder
German, 1473–1531
The Assault on Verona by Bartolomeo from Der Weisskunig
1514–16
Woodcut on paper
Image/plate: 8 ½ x 7 11/16 in. (21.6 x 19.5 cm); sheet: 10 ¾ x 9 1/8 in. (27.3 x 23.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 81.38