Bowes Museum: The Death of Lucretia


The above oil on panel is the work of the 16th century Flemish Renaissance painter Vincent Sellaer. Dating to between 1538-1544, the painting depicts an episode recounted by Livy which was often chosen as an exemplum virtutis, an image with a moralising message. The painting represents the moment when Lucretia commits suicide after being raped by the king of Rome, Sextus Tarquinius. The man in the painting is thought to be either her husband Collatinus or Junius Brutus, the legendary founder of the Roman republic.