Tarquin and Lucretia (1568-71) by Titian

Tarquin and Lucretia - Titian - 1568-71

Artwork Information

TitleTarquin and Lucretia
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions188.9 x 145.1 cm
Current LocationFitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

About Tarquin and Lucretia

“Tarquin and Lucretia” is a painting completed by Titian in 1568-71. The artwork depicts the infamous story of the Etruscan prince, Sextus Tarquinius, attacking the Roman noblewoman Lucretia. Titian portrayed the scene with Lucretia resisting the assault, but eventually being overpowered by Tarquin. This act ultimately contributed to the end of the Roman monarchy and the establishment of a republic.

Titian created two other versions of the same subject later in his life, and Lucretia’s death was a more commonly depicted scene in art. The painting is now part of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s collection in Vienna. Another painting by Titian, Tarquin and Lucretia, also portrays the same event, but with Tarquin depicted as more aggressive and evil. This painting was completed in 1571 for Philip II of Spain and is considered to be a fully finished work.

“Tarquin and Lucretia” is a famous story from Roman history, which can be found in Livy’s history of Rome and Ovid’s “Fasti.” The theme of this painting is an example of how art has been used as a medium to showcase historical events and traditions.

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