The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Suicide of Queen Dido

Object Details


The Suicide of Queen Dido


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. 41


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

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Object Description

Dido appears shown atop the blazing funeral pyre she constructed for herself, plunging a dagger into her breast before a group of horrified onlookers. Daughter of the king of Tyre, Dido was grief stricken after her husband was murdered by her brother. She fled from her homeland to the coast of Africa, where she purchased a piece of land from a local chieftain, Iarbas, and founded the city of Carthage. As the city prospered, Iarbas persistently sought her hand in marriage. In her desperation to evade his suit, she chose to commit suicide.