MATTIA PRETI (1613-1699), LUCRETIA STABBING HERSELF, OIL ON CANVAS, 209X155CM
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Mattia Preti (1613-1699), Lucretia Stabbing Herself, oil on canvas, 209x155cm
One of the most important paintings in this collection is Lucretia Stabbing Herself by Mattia Preti, which was attributed by Professor John T. Spike, a noted authority on this artist. The story of Lucretia can be found in the legendary history of early Rome, as told by Livy. Lucretia was a virtuous wife of a nobleman, who was raped by Sextus, the son of the tyrannical Tarquin the Proud. Sextus visited Lucretia while she was alone in her chamber, and said that if she did not give herself to him, he would kill her as well as a slave, and lay the latter’s body beside her implicating her in adultery. Faced with this prospect, Lucretia yielded to him, and after informing her husband and father, took her own life. Tarquin’s nephew Brutus led a rebellion that resulted in the former being forced into exile with his family, and in Rome becoming a Republic.