- Museum number
The Battle of Pavia; the fortified town at left; in foreground and at right the various troops marching and fighting in a landscape; in right background the capture of the French king; printed from two blocks. c.1525
Woodcut and letterpress
- Production date
- 1525 (circa)
Height: 381 millimetres (Borderline)
Height: 397 millimetres (Sheet size)
Width: 526 millimetres
Width: 527 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Bartrum 1995
Literature: C.Dodgson, II, p.115, 6; Hollstein, 53.
This is a particularly fine impression of Breu's most spectacular woodcut. It was produced in a period when his work still showed the influence of the style of the Danube school; the high viewpoint, the wide expanse of the landscape and the treatment of the soldiers are comparable to battle subjects in the paintings of Albrecht Altdorfer and in the woodcut of the 'Battle against the Turks', 1539, by Michael Ostendorfer (1852,0612.47).
As part of the duchy of Milan, Pavia played a key role in the war between the Emperor Charles V and Francis I, King of France. Strongly fortified by the Emperor in 1525, the city was able to inflict a disastrous defeat on the French leading to the capture of King Francis I himself. The town of Pavia is represented here on the left, beneath the imperial arms with the emblem of Milan, a snake, suspended below. The capture of Francis I is indicated on a flag lettered "CAPTIO REGIS. F" in the middle of the battlefield on the right. Two years later, French troops sacked the city of Pavia for seven days in retaliation for their defeat.
The woodcut was presumably printed in Augsburg in commemoration of the Emperor's victory. An impression of it with a Latin inscription on the tablet is at Stuttgart (Staatsgalerie). There is an oil painting identical in composition with this woodcut from the collection of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel (1586-1646), at Wilton House (see 'A Catalogue of the Paintings & Drawings in the Collection at Wilton House, Salisbury', compiled by Sidney, 16th Earl of Pembroke, London, 1968, no. 193a).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995 Jun-Oct, BM, 'German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550', no.157
1996 Jun-Aug, Canterbury, Royal Mus and AG, German Renaissance Prints
1996 Nov-Dec, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, German Renaissance Prints
1997 Jan-Mar, Cardiff, Nat Mus of Wales, German Renaissance Prints
1997 Apr-May, Llandudno, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, German Renaissance Prints
1997 Oct-Dec, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre, German Renaissance Prints
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Defeat of the French troops at the Battle of Pavia 24 February 1525
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number