Ansa, the last Queen of the Lombards
A compelling artwork crafted by the esteemed artist André Romijn presents the imaginative portrait of Ansa, a significant historical figure who was married to Desiderius (756–774 AD), King of the Lombards. This captivating depiction unfolds against the backdrop of a marble slab, reminiscent of the unearthed treasures from the excavations in the church of SS Giovanni e Reparata in Lucca.
Ansa's narrative is one of notable achievements. In approximately 753, she established the St. Michele and St. Pietro monastery in Brescia, a foundation that would profoundly shape her legacy. As her husband ascended to royal duties, the couple's journey led them to Tuscany, where Desiderius earned the title of 'Duke of Tuscia.' With Desiderius eventually securing the throne after King Aistulf's passing, Ansa's role evolved to that of queen, marking a period of active partnership with her husband, particularly in religious pursuits.
Astute politics, devout piety, and resplendent beauty
Brescia became a canvas for Ansa's endeavours. The initial monastery she founded grew under her nurturing hand into the esteemed Monastery of San Salvatore. She endowed it with exceptional riches and entrusted its leadership to her daughter Anselperga, who assumed the role of abbess. The annals of history are graced by Paul the Deacon's Epitaphium Ansae reginae, which extols Ansa for her astute politics, devout piety, and resplendent beauty.
In the year 774, Ansa's journey led her to Charlemagne's presence, as she stood alongside her husband when Pavia succumbed to the conqueror's might. The subsequent fall of the Lombard kingdom at Charlemagne's hands saw Ansa, her husband, and daughter confined within a Carolingian Empire monastery, possibly located in Liège or Corbie. Yet, local tradition weaves an alternative tale, asserting that she was interred in the very monastery she established in Brescia.
Multiple layers of acrylic and gold leaf
The canvas comes to life through the multiple layers of acrylic and gold leaf, a vivid and versatile choice. Laid upon a sturdy board and set in a bronze golden frame, this artwork bridges the realms of history, art, and memory, immortalizing Ansa's intricate role in a tableau that captures her essence and achievements.