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Naval Battle off the Kerkennah Islands


Carlo Antonio Tavella (Milan, 1668 – Genoa, 1738)
Naval Battle near the Isle of Currents
Naval Battle off the Kerkennah Islands (image)

oil on canvas,early 18th century
The Room of Battles

The two monumental naval battles after which the room where they have hung since the mid-19th century is named are distinguished both by their exceptional size and by their subject matter. Both depict clashes that took place during the year 1700 between the Knights of Malta and the Barbary corsairs. The galleys and vessels of the two sides are distinguished by the flags they fly, the white cross on a red ground of the Order as against the Ottoman white crescent on a red ground. The first canvas shows the defeat of seven Maltese galleys on 16 February 1700 en route to Messina for provisions and the second the revenge taken on the Saracens a few months later on 8 October 1700. This engagement, which took place off the Kerkennah islands in the Strait of Sicily near Lampedusa, ended with the capture of the Barbary galleon Sultana Benghem. The vessels were commanded by the Genoese admiral and commander of the Order Giovanni Battista Spinola. The two paintings were bought by the Savoy family in 1824 together with the palace on Via Balbi.

  • Carlo Antonio Tavella
  • olio su tela, inizio del XVIII secolo
  • olio su tela
  • Sala delle Battaglie