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The J. Paul Getty Museum

Death of Messalina Gm-00070001

Death of Messalina Gm-00070001

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Francesco Solimena (Italian, 1657–1747) Solimena here represents the murder of Messalina, third wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who had a reputation for promiscuity. Though the emperor forgave Messalina’s adultery, others saw this as a weakness, and a Roman officer ordered her assassination. The dynamic composition illustrates the moment in which a soldier thrusts a sword toward the frightened empress, who grasps his arm in a helpless attempt to fend off the attack.

This may be the only painted representation of the death of Messalina, a story from the Annals of Tacitus. The subject provided Solimena with an opportunity to engage with a dramatic narrative, whose intensity he heightened by illuminating the figures in the darkness with stark, white light and painting them on a monumental scale. According to his eighteenth-century biographer, Bernardo de' Dominici (1683–1759), Solimena painted this subject for a series of five canvases of historical and mythological subjects for the Procurator Canale in Venice.

Art Prints are printed on heavy matte finish German art paper using the finest Canon archival inks. Frame is black natural with a white mattboard and Acrylite glazing.

Wall Murals are printed on 42" matte finish, self-adhesive Kodak PhotoText fabric panels that combine and mount easily on a non textured wall surface. We can custom make to any size, just ask.

Stretched Canvas is stretched by hand over 1.5" thick pine bars and printed on cotton poly matte finish canvas. Each canvas is hand coated with Hahnemuhle UV/Archive coating, these are Swiss quality best in industry canvases.

All our images are digitized from the original negative , printed and assembled in Switzerland to museum standards by our master printer.

All of our products are popular and custom made by hand to order, please allow 2-4 weeks to make them and 1-2 weeks for shipment anywhere in the world.

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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .


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