Genserich's Invasion of Rome. 1835-1836
88.5 х 118.6 Oil on canvas

Genzerich (more correctly – Geiserich), the king of the German Vandal tribe (428–477), attacked Rome in 455 and subjected the city to fourteen-day looting, thereby strengthening its power in the Western Mediterranean. The interpretation of the subject – Genzerich orders his African assistants to seize the Dowager Empress Eudoxia and her daughters – testifies to the artist’s acquaintance with the article by N.V. Gogol On the Movement of Peoples at the End of the 5th Century, which was part of the writer’s short story collection Arabesques (1835). In the background, a group of vandals is dragging as trophy the seven-branched candlestick from the Temple in Jerusalem that was taken in 70 AD when the city was pillaged by the Romans. To the right, we see a man in clerical clothing, perhaps it is Pope Leo I the Great. Bryullov conceived the painting back in Italy, however the sketch was executed at the commission of A. A. Perovsky (writer Antony Pogorelsky) later in Moscow, where Alexander Pushkin saw it. The poet wrote to his wife: “... Perovsky showed me Genserich's Invasion of Rome (which is on par with The Last Day of Pompeii), saying, ‘... How he, this bastard, managed to express his roguish, brilliant idea! He is a rascal, an old fox. ... It’s killing me!’ ”

Additional info
Historical painting
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