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The Flight of the Vestal Virgins

Photo credit: The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

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Livy's history of Rome ('Ab urbe condita' V, 40–42) was the source for these scenes of the Gauls attacking Rome (390 BC), with the escape of the Vestal Virgins in the carriage of the Roman citizen Lucius Albinus in the foreground; on the right they approach the safety of the Temple of Caere. Dating from the early 1480s, probably when Biagio was working in Rome, this 'spalliera' panel was intended to be seen at eye level, perhaps inserted into the panelling of a room.

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology



c. 1480–1484


tempera & gilding on panel


H 67.3 x W 174 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Fox-Strangways Gift, 1850

Work type



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The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Beaumont Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 2PH England

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