The history of Lucretia by Sandro Botticelli

The history of Lucretia by Sandro Botticelli

Painting by artist Sandro Botticelli “History of Lucretia”. The size of the master’s work is 80 x 178 cm, wood, tempera. The customer of the picture on the historical theme was Guido Antonio Vespucci.

Botticelli chooses an archaic narrative form of portraying the famous story of the death of the Roman Lucretia. But, despite this deliberate archaization, underlined the conventionality of the most pictorial language, he creates chasedly clear in its certainty the characteristics of the characters, clearly outlines the place of the death of Lucretia – for example, the building of the city with a beautiful scenery in the distance, forms magnificent compositional groups.

His colouristic receptions make us remember the monuments of icon painting: by limiting ourselves in a colorful range to certain color combinations, using the expressiveness of whole colorful silhouettes, he achieves brilliant results. Lucretia is the heroine of ancient Roman history about the expulsion from Rome of the dynasty of Etruscan kings at the end of the 4th century BC. The most detailed story is told in Titus Livia. During the siege by the troops of the king of Tarquinia, the proud city of the rods of Ardei, the son of the king, Sextus Tarquinius, made a feast for the young noble warriors of his detachment.

All the feasts praised their wives and decided to check what the Romans are doing while their husbands are at war. Since Ardei is not far from Rome, a few hours later the royal son Sextus and the other soldiers of his legion were already in the city. As expected, many wives of warriors had fun and indulged in fornication, only the wife of a relative of the Tsar Kollatin, Lucretia, was sitting at a spinning wheel.

Struck by its beauty, Sextus Tarquin returned to the house of Lucretia after a while, abusing her, defamating the name of the family of Collatin. Lucretia sent a messenger to a military camp to her husband. Collatin along with his friend Brutus arrived in Rome. Lucrezia told him of her misfortune and accepted death by hacking her husband’s sword.

Collatin and Brutus over the body of Lucretia vowed to avenge Tarquinius. The body of Lucrezia was taken to the small town of Collacia, not far from Rome, whose inhabitants also swore an oath of vengeance and began an uprising that ended with the expulsion of Etruscan kings from Rome. Collatin and Brutus became the first consuls of the republic that arose as a result of the uprising. The name of the Roman Lucretia since ancient times was synonymous with female chastity.

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