Schmutzer . Rubens - The Interpretation of the Victim
Copperplate engraving & etching
After Peter Paul Rubens
In 295 B.C. Publius Decius Mus was fighting against a coalition of Samnites and Gauls.
In an elaborate sacrificial ceremony the gods were asked if Decius Mus should sacrifice himself for the sake of Rome.
The High Priest (haruspex) confirms the judgement - death for Decius - by pointing to the liver of the bull that Decius Mus had sacrificed
Decius Mus dedicated himself to the gods of the Underworld and rode, on horseback, to his enemies, who killed him.
The wrath of the gods now was upon the Gauls, who were soundly defeated, after which it was easy to break Samnite resistance too and Rome was saved.
Lower right: Schmuzer Sculpsit.
Lower left: P. P. Rubens pinxit
La divination par les entrailles
Decius vernimmt sein Schicksal von den Priestern/ aus den Eingeweiden der Opferthiere
A Vienne chez Artaria et Comp.
Engraver: Jakob Matthias Schmutzer (Austrian 1733–1811)
Publisher: Artaria et Comp.
Date: Late 18th century
51.5 cm x 64.7 cm (20" 1/4 x 25" 1/2)
Rubens executed a Decius Mus cycle of eight paintings as cartoons for tapestries for a noble Genoese.
The painting « The Interpretation of the Victim» is displayed in Vienna at the Liechtenstein city palace in Bankgasse.