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La Baruffa [The Quarrel]
35 cm x 50.4 cm (13 3/4 in. x 19 13/16 in.)
(Assisi, 1566 - 1624, Rome)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Initially active as a reproductive engraver after masters like Barocci and Zuccaro, Francesco Villamena emerged in 1596 as an independent printmaker, publishing and distributing his own prints. Villamena maintained a steady output of prints well in to the seventeenth century. La Baruffa depicts a brawl between the pro-Spanish sculptor, Bruttobuono, and a group of pro-French thugs. Although Clement VIII had officially reconciled the Spanish and French kings in 1599, their proponents in Rome remained at fierce odds. Bruttobuono had worked for the eminent patron, Ciriaco Mattei, whose villa on the Caelian Hill appears in the background. After the brawl, Mattei gave sanctuary to the mortally wounded sculptor. Villamena dedicated the print to Mattei.