Private Collection [sold, Fonthill Abbey sale, Phillips, April 10-15, 1823, lot 261.]
Private Dealer (Munich, Germany)
Julius Böhler Gallery (Munich, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1969.
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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum South Pavilion, Gallery S104
The Banquet of Cleopatra
Gerard Hoet (Dutch, 1648 - 1733)
late 17th century - early 18th century
Oil on canvas
57.8 x 69.5 cm (22 3/4 x 27 3/8 in.)
Seated under a canopy at the lavish banquet she hosts for Marc Antony, Cleopatra holds a glass of wine in which she is about to place a priceless pearl earring as an ostentatious sign of her indifference to wealth. The pearl dissolves in her wine, which she then drinks to Antony's health. In return, he presents her with Cyprus, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, and parts of Arabia. When Jacques Amyot translated Plutarch's Life of Marc Antonyin 1559, Europeans rediscovered the legend of the beautiful, brilliant, and powerful Cleopatra; the story was soon reproduced in media such as drama and paintings.
Gerard Hoet set this scene from the first century B.C. in a late Baroque interior that he might have seen when he visited Paris in the mid-1670s. Three versions of the Banquet of Cleopatraby Hoet survive, all of which show his emphasis on rich clothing and accessories. His works typify the