The Tomb of Marc Antony and Cleopatra

Object Details


The Tomb of Marc Antony and Cleopatra






Paris, France (Place created)


about 1413 - 1415


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


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

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Two men stand before the tomb of Marc Antony and Cleopatra, whose suicides ended a Roman civil war. After the death of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., control of the Roman state was divided between his heirs Octavian and Marc Antony, sparking a Roman civil war. Antony allied himself with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra against Octavian. After their horrendous defeat at Actium in 31 B.C., Cleopatra and Antony fled to Egypt, where they both committed suicide, he with a sword, she with poisonous snakes. According to Boccaccio, Octavian had their tombs placed side by side.

The Boucicaut Master recreated their tombs as a single structure in the European Gothic style, rather than as Egyptian monuments. The effigies display the implements of their deaths, the sword and the snake.