Description The Roman emperor Constantine the Great (ca. AD 275-337) defeated his rivals for control of Rome in a crucial battle at the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber River in 312 CE. According to the christian writer Eusebius, in his Life of Constantine, the emperor experienced a vision in which a cross of light appeared in the sky accompanied by words in Greek that could be translated as "in this sign you will conquer." this was the beginning of his conversion to Christianity. Constantine would subsequently establish Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. The composition was taken from a famous 16th-century fresco by Giulio Romano in the Vatican Palace that was well known through engravings. The painting was most likely done for an Italian client in Rome where there was a ready demand for small cabinet-sized works by Flemish painters depicting Roman subjects.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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