Achilles Delivers Briseis to Agamemnon’s Heralds

Antonio Canova1787/1790

Fondazione Cariplo

Fondazione Cariplo
Milan, Italy

This is one of various scenes recounting episodes from classic epic poetry, for which Canova drew his inspiration from Cesarotti’s translations of Homer. As in the scenes that recount the Death of Socrates, the artist completely eschews narration, eliminates all decorative elements and focuses entirely on tersely rendering the event, with the intention of representing the classical spirit that is the well-spring of his art. This episode, taken from the first canto of the Iliad, depicts Achilles bidding farewell to the slave Briseis, whom Agamemnon has decided to take from him: a decision that will result in Achilles abandoning the Greek camp outside the walls of Troy. The bas-relief was reproduced in an engraving by Tommaso Piroli (engraver) and Vincenzo Camuccini (draughtsman): copperplate etching retouched with burin; 240 x 423 mm.


  • Title: Achilles Delivers Briseis to Agamemnon’s Heralds
  • Creator: Antonio Canova
  • Date: 1787/1790
  • Physical Dimensions: w213 x h112 x d17 cm (Complete)
  • Exhibition: Gallerie d'Italia, Piazza Scala, 6, Milano
  • Provenance: Cariplo Foundation, 1991
  • Type: Sculpture, bas relief, plaster
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

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