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The Death of Lucretia
Rosales Gallinas, Eduardo
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Rosales Gallinas, Eduardo

Madrid, 1836 - Madrid, 1873

Rosales Gallinas, Eduardo See author's file

The Death of Lucretia

1871. Oil on canvas.
Room 061B

After revolutionizing the painting of his time with Queen Isabel la Católica dictating her Last Will and Testament (P4624), Rosales again shook the very foundations of the Spanish art world when he presented the present historical canvas at the 1871 Exposición Nacional. This is the work that he always considered his masterpiece, and it earned him a first medal. It was always very polemical, however, and the fierce criticism it received for its disconcerting modernity embittered the final years of the artist’s life. Here, Rosales decided to again address one of the most exemplary episodes from Ancient Rome, returning to a subject widely exploited by academic classicism during the early decades of the 19th century. The present work marked the beginning of a second golden age for Spanish history painting, now with a fully modern approach to both its pictorial language and the dramatic nature of its subjects.

Here, as in his previous groundbreaking work, the chosen episode was the agony of a virtuous woman whose death would also have lasting political consequences. The suicide of Roman patrician Lucrece after she was raped by the son of the king of Rome led to the fall of the monarchy and the proclamation of the Roman Republic in the year 510 B.C.E. Thus, Lucrece was widely known in the Neoclassical era as the maximum example of virtue and marital fidelity.

In her chambers, the violated Roman lies dying, held by her father and her husband while Brutus vows vengeance with raised dagger. A blue-robed patrician, probably Valerius, buries his face in his arms, horrified at the sight of her tragic end. Unlike the eminently political and spectacular interpretation that other Spanish artist brought to this story shortly after this work, Rosales’s scene is set in the intimacy of the married couple’s bedroom, thus emphasizing the eminently human character of a tragedy whose private nature grew precisely because its public repercussions changed the course of history and transformed the political system of the ancient world’s most powerful empire.

The truly revolutionary effect that this painting by Rosales had in its time lies fundamentally in its disconcertingly modern technique, a masterful display of absolute freedom in which the artist carries the realist use of paint to its ultimate consequences with an extremely broad and direct technique based on vigorous brushstrokes (Text drawn from Díez, J. L.: El Siglo XIX en el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007, pp. 218-224).

Technical data

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Inventory number
Rosales Gallinas, Eduardo
The Death of Lucretia
Height: 257 cm; Width: 347 cm
Acquisition, 1882; Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura (Museo del Prado), 1882-1896; Museo de Arte Moderno, 1896-1971

Bibliography +

Lozoya, Juan de Contreras y López de Ayala, Marqués de, Historia del arte hispánico, V, Salvat, Barcelona-B.Aires, 1949, pp. 387-389.

Pantorba, B. de, Historia y crítica de las Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes, Jesús Ramón García Rama, Madrid, 1980, pp. 101-102.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas del siglo XIX, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1985, pp. 234.

La pintura de historia del siglo XIX en España, Consorcio Madrid 92Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992, pp. 278-291.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

El ''Prado disperso''. Nuevos depósitos. Madrid, Teatro Real, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XVII,35, 1999, pp. 170.

García de Cortázar, Fernando, La peseta y el arte: imágenes en billetes anteriores al euro, Safei, Madrid, 1999, pp. 75.

Symmons, Sarah, The Spanish Diary of Enid Layard, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XVIII, 2000, pp. 94.

Isabel la Católica y el arte, Real Academia de la Historia: Marquesa Viuda de Arriluce de Ybarra, Madrid, 2006, pp. 202-216.

Díez, José Luis, 'Eduardo Rosales. Muerte de Lucrecia' En:, El siglo XIX en el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2007, pp. 218-224 nº 41..

Navarro, Carlos G., 'Nuevas fuentes formales en la obra de Eduardo Rosales' en In sapientia libertas : escritos en homenaje al profesor Alf..., Museo Nacional del Prado: Fundac, Madrid, 2007, pp. 693-703.

López Delgado, Juan Antonio, Eduardo Rosales en la colección López Delgado : dibujos, cartas, fotografías, [s.n.], 2010, pp. 48-49.

Salas, Xavier de, La exposición de la obra de Eduardo Rosales 1836-1873, Estudios, 2010, pp. 345-377.

Díez, José Luis, 'Eduardo Rosales y la conquista del realismo por los pintores españoles en Roma (1855-1875)' En: Del realismo al impresionismo, Fundación Amigos Museo del Prado - Galaxia Gutenberg, Madrid, 2014, pp. 81-104 [100].

Valtierra Lacalle, Ana, Iconografía de Lucrecia.Repercusiones plásticas en la península Ibérica, ANAS, 27-28, Mérida, 2014/2015, pp. 241-261 [256-259].

Díez, J.L. (dir.), Pintura del Siglo XIX en el Museo del Prado. Catálogo general, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 523.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1985. Núm. 4613.

Catálogo Museo de Arte Moderno, 1900. Núm. 566.
SECCIÓN DE PINTURA EN SUS DIVERSAS CLASES, DIBUJOS Y GRABADOS EN LÁMINAS. / Rosales (D. Eduardo) [...] 566.- La muerte de Lucrecia. / Alto 2'55 metros. Ancho 3'42 metros.

Inv. General del Museo de Arte Moderno, 1899-1902. Núm. 188.

Catálogo Museo de Arte Moderno, 1899. Núm. 360.
SECCIÓN DE PINTURA EN SUS DIVERSAS CLASES, DIBUJOS Y GRABADOS EN LAMINAS. / ROSALES (D. Eduardo) [...] 360.- Muerte de Lucrecia. / Alto 2'55 metros. Ancho 3'42 metros.

Inv. Museo Arte Moderno, 1954. Núm. 522.

Registros-Inventarios Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, 1900-1936. Núm. 62-R.

Registros-Inventarios Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, 1900-1936. Núm. 38-R.

Actas traslado de obras MEAC - Prado, 1971-1973. Núm. 641.

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 547.
547 / D. Eduardo Rosales / La muerte de Lucrecia / Alto 2,55 anº 3,42 [Nota al margen izquierdo] Ley de 20 de enero de / 1882. Comunicada en / 28 del mismo [Nota en rojo en registro inferior] Paso al Museo de A. M.

Inscriptions +

Rosales / 1871
Signed and dated. Front, lower right corner

M.A.M. 38 (R)
Front, lower right corner

T. 547
Inscribed in blue. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in red color. Stretcher, central crossbeam

Exhibitions +

El Siglo XIX en el Prado
31.10.2007 - 20.04.2008

La pintura de historia del Siglo XIX en España
01.10.1992 - 01.12.1992

Location +

Room 061B (On Display)

Update date: 11-06-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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