The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Suicide of Lucretia

Object Details


The Suicide of Lucretia


Boucicaut Master or workshop (French, active about 1390 - 1430)




Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1413–1415


Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 63 (96.MR.17), fol. 68


Leaf: 42 × 29.6 cm (16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

The Roman noblewoman Lucretia plunges a knife into her breast as her husband, her father, and a man named Junius Brutus look on in horror. The tragedy of Lucretia began when Sextus, the son of the tyrannical Etruscan king of Rome and a member of the Tarquin family, raped her. For the ancient Romans, a woman who was raped was guilty of adultery, a crime punishable by death, even though she had not given herself willingly. After she was raped, Lucretia made her husband and father swear an oath of vengeance against the Tarquins and then killed herself in shame. Enraged by her death, Junius Brutus led a victorious rebellion against the Etruscan king and freed the Romans from Etruscan rule, marking the beginning of the Roman Republic.