Tarquinio e Lucrezia (1578-1580)

Tintoretto, Jacopo (1518-1594)

Tarquinio e Lucrezia (Tarquin and Lucretia)
Oil on canvas, 175 × 151.5 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

According to Roman history, the rape of the virtuous matron Lucretia by Tarquin, son of the king of Rome, incited the people to overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic around 510 BCE. Lucretia was hailed as a hero for subsequently committing suicide in an attempt to avoid any perceived dishonor to her family. With his characteristic expressive distortions of anatomy and space and vibrant treatment of light, Tintoretto depicted one of the most violent moments of the story. As Tarquin and Lucretia struggle, a pillow flies through the air, her pearl necklace breaks apart, and the fabric and carved post of the bed’s canopy collapses around them. (AIC)