The Continence of Scipio, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (Dutch, 1621–1674), 1659
Oil on canvas
The Continence of Scipio, or The Clemency of Scipio, is an episode recounted by Livy of the Roman general Scipio Africanus during his campaign in Spain during the Second Punic War. He refused a generous ransom for a young female prisoner, returning her to her fiance Allucius, who in return became a supporter of Rome. In recognition of his magnanimous treatment of a prisoner, he was taken as one of the prime examples of mercy during warfare in classical times. Interest in the story revived in the Renaissance and the episode figured widely thereafter in both the literary and figurative arts.
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (19 August 1621 – 29 September 1674), was a Dutch Golden Age painter and a favourite student of Rembrandt. He was also an etcher, an amateur poet, a collector and an adviser on art.