18th Century Italian School, follower of Luca Giordano
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All Items: Fine Art:Paintings:Oil:Europe:Italian: Pre 1800: item # 1179791
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STUDIO ANTIQUES & FINE ART, INC.
524 North Washington Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Italian School, follower of Luca Giordano 18th century.
Oil on canvas.
Painting size: 18.5” x 13.75”
Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemys, ruled Egypt from 51 to 30 BCE. She formed a political-- and romantic-- alliance with Mark Anthony against Octavian for the rule of Rome. This conflict came to a head at the Battle of Actium off the coast of Greece where the combined forces of Cleopatra and Anthony were overthrown by Octavain’s Roman army. The pair fled to Egypt with the Romans in pursuit. Anthony’s soldiers abandoned him and his cause and, rather than admit defeat, he committed suicide . The Egyptian queen followed suit as act of honor rather than heartbreak.
This work is a copy of a painting by Italian master Luca Giordano (1634-1705), showing Cleopatra the moment she clasps a poisonous snake to her breast. The queen’s blonde, fleshy body recalls the figures of Peter Paul Rubens while the use of chiaroscuro shows the influence of Spanish painter Jusepe Ribera, one of Giordano’s instructors. Both Giordano and Ribera painted religious subjects and themes from classical antiquity. While Cleopatra was a figure in history, Giordano’s portrayal of her suicide combines sensuality with horror and death, and reflects the Baroque taste for high drama.