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Part 6

All these artists dipped into their classical and local heritage, borrowing forms of triumph and models from Antiquity. The influence of Rome can be detected in all triumphal entries. An especially striking example of this is in the entry of archduke Ernst into Antwerp in 1594, where a copy of the Colosseum was used to depict the Theatre of Peace. Here is an exterior view of the monument [Example 18], and here it is opened up to reveal the presence of concord displayed [Example 19]. Roman influence is also evident in the use of obelisks, commemorative plaques, and in the many transformations of the triumphal chariot which had carried Caesar into Rome to receive the acclamations of the crowd after his numerous victories. Mantegna had made familiar this vision of the Emperor erect in his car, surrounded by trophies of the battles he had won and followed by the dejected kings he had humbled. Renaissance artists played with this form and, by the end of the sixteenth century, although obviously still recognizable as a triumphal chariot, efforts had been made to make it even more spectacular. Elephants and carriage wheels in the form of the sun brought in these Persian knights [Example 20] for the wedding of the Duke in Florence in 1579; and for the same event, Mars was drawn in by two shaggy lions [Example 21], you will note that the god of war is standing on a langoustine. In 1616 at the staged opera in Florence, a great rock, drawn by horses, supported Atlas and the world [Example 22]. At La Rochelle in 1636, even the Roman Circus had been crammed onto a triumphal car [Example 23].