The itinerary <em>TITULORECORRIDO</em> has been successfully created. Now you can add in works from the Collection browser
<em>TITULOOBRA</em> added to <em>TITULORECORRIDO</em> itinerary

Hecuba' s Grief
Bramer, Leonaert
Close Continuar a ficha de la obra

Bramer, Leonaert

Delft, 1596 - Delft, 1674

See author's file

Hecuba' s Grief

Ca. 1630. Oil on copperplate.
Not on display

Both the royal inventories and Stchavinsky (1912) identify this scene as the story of Hecuba, wife of Priam of Troy. Wichmann (1923) disagrees, believing it to be the Finding of the bodies of Hero and Leander, an interpretation supported by Valdivieso (1973), Pigler (1974), Salerno (1977-80) and Sluijter (1986). Luna (1984), however, has called attention to the inscription HECVBA / OVIDIVS./ LIB. 13 on the stele of the tunnel arch on the right, thereby confirming the initial identification of the canvas as an illustration of Hecuba`s discovery of the bodies of her children, Polydorus and Polyxena.

The scene, which is taken from Ovid`s Metamorphoses (book XIII, verses 399–575), depicts the moment when Hecuba goes to collect water to bathe the body of her daughter Polyxena, sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles. On so doing, she discovers the corpse of her son Polydorus on the shore, murdered and thrown into the sea by Polymestor, King of Thrace, in whose care he had been placed as a child by Priam, his father.

More specifically, Hecuba`s unrelenting gaze and motionless attitude, coupled with her crown and sumptuous apparel -which, as Goldsmith (1994) is right to observe, does not match her situation at the time, as the captive and slave of Ulysses- suggest that the painting depicts verses 545 and 546: Then [her rage] blazed out, and she, even as she were still a queen / determined on vengeance, her mind filled with nothing but the thought of punishment. This subject was seldom portrayed in earlier or even contemporary painting. Indeed, it would appear only to have been treated previously by Antonio Tempesta in one of his prints for the series of Ovid`s Metamorphoses (1606).

The representation is set in daylight and the background features classical architecture, recreating the tomb of Cecilia Metela on Rome`s Via Appia and the Temple of the Sybil in Tivoli. The bell tower and the castle in the background cannot be identified. The compositional structure, pictorial refinement and renunciation of detail in favour of greater expressiveness suggest other works painted by Bramer around 1630.

Until 1985, this picture appears in the Prado`s catalogues as companion piece to Abraham and the Three Angels. However, despite their stylistic proximity, the support and measurements do not coincide and, above all, there appears to be no connection between this scene from the Metamorphoses and the story from the Bible, the only common denominator being the destruction of the two cities, Sodom and Troy.

On the other hand, Hecuba`s Grief has the same support and measurements as two other Bramer scenes, Hecuba`s Finding of the Bodies of Pyramus and Thisbe and Niobe’s Discovery of the Bodies of her Children, which also illustrate verses by Ovid. It is therefore possible that all three were part of a series devoted to dramatic episodes from the Metamorphoses (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 298).


Technical data

Inventory number
Bramer, Leonaert
Hecuba' s Grief
Ca. 1630
Height: 46.2 cm; Width: 59.6 cm
Royal Collection (Casita del Príncipe, El Escorial-Madrid, 1779, nº 31; Casita del Príncipe, El Escorial-Madrid, h, 1787, nº 31; Casita del Príncipe, El Escorial-Madrid, 1801, nº 31).

Bibliography +

Stchavinsky, W., Leonaert Bramer en: Starye Gody, 1912, pp. 23.

Wichmann, Heinrich, Leonaert Bramer, sein Leben und seine Kunst, Leipzig, 1923, pp. 27 y 141.

Zarco Cuevas, Julian, Cuadros reunidos por Carlos IV, siendo Príncipe, en su Casa de campo de El Escorial., Imprenta del Monasterio, El Escorial, 1934, pp. 14.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 229-230.

Pigler, A., Barockthemen: eine Auswahl von Verzeichnisse zur Ikonographie de 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, II, Budapest, 1974, pp. 323.

Salerno, Luigi, Pittori di paesaggio del Seicento a Roma = Landscape painter, I, Ugo Bozzi, Roma, 1977, pp. 274-275.

Claudio de Lorena y el ideal clásico de paisaje en el siglo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1984, pp. 86, nº15.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 84.

Sluijter, Eric Jan, De ''Heydeschen Fabulen'' in de Nordnederlandse Schilderkunst circa 1590-1670, een proeve van beschrijving en interpretatie van schilderijen met verhalende onderwerpen uit de klassieke mythologie, La Haya, 1986, pp. 88.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1459.

Brink Goldsmith, Jane ten, Leonaert Bramer 1596-1674. Ingenious Painter and Draugthman in Rome and Delft, Delft, 1994, pp. nº31.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 34-36.

Maurer, G., Goya: lo bello y lo recóndito. En: La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 246.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, folleto, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 30 n.117.

Cenalmor Bruquetas, Elena, Nuevas obras de Leonaert Bramer en el Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXI, 2013, pp. 6-17 [6,12].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1210.
1210.-(1459-N.)-El dolor de Hécuba. Abalánzase / hácia su hijo Polidoro, muerto y arrojado á la playa / por las olas. (Véase nuestro Catálogo extenso.) / Col de Doña Isabel de Farnesio, Pal. de San Ildef. / Alto 0,45; ancho 0,74.-T

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1459.
Bramer (Leonardo) / 1459. Hecuba. / Abalanzándose hacia su hijo Polidoro muerto y arro- / jado á la playa por las olas, mientras por otra parte / una doncella de su sequito descubre el cadáver de Po- / lixena y se prepara a ungirle. / Imita el estilo de Rembrandt. (Cobre.) / Alto 1 pie, 7 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 2 pies, 1 pulg, / 6 lin.

Inv. Casita del Príncipe (Escorial), 1779. Núm. 31.
Otro, en lámina, que contiene la Fabula de Ecuba, de tres cuartas de largo, y media vara de caída, original de Rembran [esta última palabra tachada en el original y añadido:]. Leonardo Bramier. 31

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. f.414v.
Sesenta y nueve. Hecuba: abalanzase hacia su hijo Polidoro, muerto y recien arrojado a la playa por las olas, mientras por otra parte una doncella de su sequito descubre el cadaver de Polixena para ungirle, de Leonardo Bramer, cobre.

Inscriptions +

L. Bramer
Signed. Front, lower right corner

3[1] [Inventario Casita del Príncipe, 1779]
Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in dark color. Front, Lower right area

P.e S.or
Printmaking. Back, right side

1459. [Inventario Colección Real]
Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

C.e N.º 31 / Ovidio L.º 13. / 3.ª L. Bramer
Handwritten label. Back, left side

Inscribed with chalk. Back, right side

L. Bramer [rubricado con una línea]
Inscribed. Stretcher, upper crossbeam

Inscribed with chalk. Back, left side

Exhibitions +

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Displayed objects +

Pitchers / Jugs


Update date: 24-11-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

Other works by Bramer, Leonaert

Print on demand

Print artworks available in our catalogue in high quality and your preferred size and finish.

Image archive

Request artworks available in our catalogue in digital format.