“The End of the Duel” by Giuseppe Aureli

This piece by Giuseppe Aureli (1858-1929) is all about the mood than any attempt at historical accuracy in costuming or weaponry. And wow, it delivers on mood.

🤩 That’s why I like it so much. One of the elements of this period of history that fascinates me so is this contrast: a violent era of duels, brigandry, and bloody wars conducted when fashion was extreme, flamboyant, outlandish, and – sometimes – impractical. Only the periwigs-and-lace period of the late 17th century buccaneers gives this era a run for the money.

🕵️ As for those historical inaccuracies? The general attire of the men: doublets with stuffed shoulder rolls and the famous “pumpkin pants?” Think 1560s. The collars – even the simple fold-down style of our protagonist in red – can range anywhere from the 1570s to 1610s. The hats fit the same wide late 1500s range. The tall “cavalier” boots with heels? Those only get popular in the 1600s, which is the same time period of those particularly ornate rapier hilts – except that “bell” hilt of the fallen duelist. That dates well into the mid-1600s. So, it’s a mishmash, but the vibe is great, nonetheless.

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🙏History, art, & games from the Renaissance Netherlands & Europe’s long, late 16th century: 1549-1619

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🎨 Giuseppe Aureli was an Italian painter acclaimed for his mastery of historical subjects. His works, often in watercolor, ranged from Renaissance Italy, to the classical world, to Orientalist subjects. In this, we see a fanciful depiction of a vaguely 16th-17th century swashbuckling setting.

💰 Let’s just not talk about the fact that this work went for a paltry hundred Euro at auction when last it came up for sale. Had I known about this before, it would be hanging on my wall right now. In fact, it appears his works are not highly valued by the art market at the moment, so for nerds like me – and you? – we may want to keep our eyes peeled.