La Morte di Cleopatra (c.1645-1655)

Cagnacci, Guido (1601-1663)

La Morte di Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra)
Oil on canvas, 95 × 75 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

The subject, from Plutarch’s Lives (1st century A.D.), is Cleopatra’s suicide by an asp bite following the defeat of her beloved Mark Antony at the battle of Actium. It provided Cagnacci with an erotically charged and emotionally engaging action that appealed to the Baroque imagination, whether in poetry, theater, or painting. Although Cagnacci’s picture is indebted to the example of Guido Reni, its flagrant sensuality is utterly singular. Cagnacci made a trip to Rome in the company of Guercino, where Caravaggio’s example of painting directly from the model proved transformative. (MET)


Cagnacci, Guido (1601-1663)
Morte di Cleopatra
after 1659
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna



Cagnacci, Guido (1601-1663)
Morte di Cleopatra
Pinacoteca di BreraMilano



See also:

• Cleopatra (69-30 BC) | Egypt