Giovanni Battista Scultori (Italian, Mantuan, 15031575)
Engraving printed in brown ink; sheet 16 x 23 1/16 in. (40.6 x 58.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1953 (53.600.996)
The presence of the chariot of Poseidon (known to the Romans as Neptune), abandoned in the waves at left, suggests that the episode represented here is from Book 14 of Homer's Iliad. The heroic nude in the foreground may be the lord of the sea, described as leading the Greeks with a long sword in hand. The warrior lying on the ground beneath him, protected by a comrade, could be the Trojan prince Hector, struck down by a stone soon after Poseidon entered the battle.
Inspired by the ships in a fragmentary Greek relief of the second century A.D. (Museo Archeologico, Venice), Scultori, who was also a sculptor and a master of stuccowork, obviously took pleasure in elaborating their decoration.