Tribute to Caesar (del Sarto and Allori)

Tribute to Caesar is a fresco measuring 502x536 cm by Andrea del Sarto and Alessandro Allori in the central hall of the villa medicea di Poggio a Caiano, Province of Prato, Italy. It dates to circa 1520 (first phase), and 1582 (second phase).[1]

Andrea del Sarto - Triumph of Caesar - WGA00382.jpg
Preparatory drawing by Andrea del Sarto for the original composition (Louvre)


The work was commissioned in the 1520s when the villa was being totally redecorated and redesigned. The earliest surviving frescoes in the villa such as the lunette Vertumnus and Pomono by Pontormo, elegiacally evoke rural like, but the building's main theme instead became the glorification of the Medici family after it acquired the titles of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours and Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino in 1520.[2]

Andrea del Sarto's work shows a laurel-wreathed Julius Caesar receiving ambassadors, with Caesar as a symbol or 'stand-in' for Lorenzo de' Medici. The animals brought by the ambassadors include (left background) the famous Medici giraffe, given to the family in 1487, possibly by Qaitbay, Sultan of Egypt.[3]

The work was originally in a trompe-l'œil loggia enclosed with columns, but by 1575 this scheme had begun to look limiting and other scenes had been added to most of the walls. del Sarto's fresco was thus extended by about a third on its right-hand side in 1582 by Alessandro Allori, from the statue of Abundance to the child with a turkey on the steps. The other statues shown in the work are Judith with the Head of Holofernes (alluding to Donatello's Judith and Holofernes, a symbol of Florentine civic power in the Palazzo Vecchio) and Justice (upper right).


  1. ^ (in Italian) Claudio Cerretelli, Prato e la sua provincia, Giunti, 1996, p. 302.
  2. ^ "WGA entry on the work".
  3. ^ (in Italian) Litta Medri, Paolo Mazzoni, Massimo De Vico Fallani, La Villa di Poggio a Caiano, Lo Studiolo Cooperativa, 1986, p 10.