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Bellona (Bust of Bellona)

The rediscovery of classical artifacts during the sixteenth century provided direct inspiration not only for Renaissance painters and sculptors, but for printmakers as well. This depiction of the Roman goddess of war is based on an ancient portrait bust (now in the Museo Torlonia). As part of a series of six prints of militaristic gods and goddesses, including Jupiter, Juno, Athena, Latona, and Hercules, this print suggests the sixteenth century’s fascination with the warlike nature of the ancient Romans.

Bellona, clothed in her traditional suit of armor, was originally accompanied by the inscription:

Bellona/I am Bellona of the flaming Countenance/to wars I gave a bloody hue/ Enemy forever of ever peace and truce.

Giulio Bonasone
Bolognese, ca. 1510–after 1576
Bellona (Bust of Bellona)
ca. 1531–76
Engraving on paper
Image/sheet: 6 1/8 x 4 ¼ in. (15.6 x 10.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.240