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This celebrated antique painting represents an ancient marriage, with some of the rites practised on such occasions.
The husband, almost naked and crowned with a garland of leaves, is silling on an estrade near the bed; the wife, covered with the flammeum, an ample veil that nearly hides her person, is seated on the bed-side, receiving the advice and consolation of the pronubæ, or women who accompanied and directed the bride during the ceremony. Near them is a woman burning incense; perhaps to dissipate malignant charms, against which the ancients were continually on their guard. Ou the right of the picture, is a priestess dipping her hand in a basin of lustral water, destined for the aspersion of the chamber; with two women, who seem intent upon her action : on the opposite side, are three women, who appear to be busied in a sacrifice, during which one of them plays upon the lyre.
This invaluable ancient painting was found, at the close of the XVI. century, in the spot formerly occupied by the gardens of Mecænas, and, by order of Clement VIII., transported to the Aldobrandini palace : whence its name, of the Aldobrandini Marriage. Width, 6 feet 10 inches ? height, 1 foot 9