The Death of Sophonisba

The Death of Sophonisba

c. 1810

attributed to Pierre Guérin

(French, 1774-1833)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 52 x 80 x 7 cm (20 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 40 x 60 cm (15 3/4 x 23 5/8 in.)

Bequest of Jacques de Caso in memory of Alice Cagliostro and Domenick Cagliostro 2008.71

Fun Fact

The story of Sophonisba has been an inspiration to artists, writers, and even filmmakers since the 1300s.

Description

When a Roman general seized Sophonisba as war booty, her husband encouraged her to die with dignity rather than become a captive. She chose suicide by poison. As depicted in the painting, the toxin has just begun to take effect, and she uneasily maintains composure while penning a suicide note.

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