The Suicide of Lucretia

Object Details

Title:

The Suicide of Lucretia

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1413 - 1415

Medium:

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

Dimensions:

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

See more

See less

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.