- Reference number
- Madrazo y Agudo, José de (Spanish)
- The Death of Viriatus, King of the Lusitani
- Ca. 1807
- 307 cm x 462 cm
- On display
- Colección Real, se expuso en el Museo desde 1819, en la llamada Galería de Artistas Contemporáneos. Por ordenación de colecciones estatales, pasó al Museo de Arte Moderno.
This work was part of a series of canvases with scenes recalling how the people of the Iberian Peninsula resisted Roman domination. The idea for this series grew out of a patriotic impulse against the French invasion of Spain.
Viriatus (second century B.C.), king of the Lusitani, lies dead, while his assassins, Audax, Ditalkon and Minurus triumphantly abandon the scene to the right of the composition.
As leader of the Peninsular rebellions against the Roman occupation, Viriatus fought the Empire until Rome recognized him as king and “Friend of the Roman People.” Nevertheless, the Roman Counsul, Servilius Caepio, violated the peace agreements by paying off Viriatus' own friends to assassinate him.
The technique of this work is very polished and finished. Its composition is outstanding, emphasizing the drama of the moment through the excited gestures of the characters. Yet those same characters contain their emotions in the neoclassical manner, as if they were classical sculptures.