The J. Paul Getty Museum

Euryalus Sends His First Letter to Lucretia

Object Details


Euryalus Sends His First Letter to Lucretia






France (Place Created)


about 1460–1470


Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink

Object Number:

Ms. 68 (2001.45), fol. 30


Leaf: 17.6 × 11.4 cm (6 15/16 × 4 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

This miniature portrays the deception and secretive communication necessary to an illicit love affair. It introduces the story of the adulterous passion between Euryalus, a member of the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, and a married Italian woman, Lucretia. In front, Euryalus presents his love letter to Nisus, a trusted go-between. Up the stairs at the left, Nisus approaches Lucretia; offended by the messenger's reputation, Lucretia tears up the letter and sends her on her way. At the far left, a woman in green escorts Nisus out the door. On the right, the repentant Lucretia gathers the torn letter and stores it in a trunk with her most sacred jewels. In the doorway at the back, Nisus reports back to Euryalus. Through this series of scenes, the artist creates a complex visual narrative, told with an almost dancelike elegance.

Chivalry in the Middle Ages (July 8 to November 30, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 8 to November 30, 2014