Inventory number
P04469
Author
Madrazo y Agudo, José de (Spanish)
Title
The Death of Viriatus, King of the Lusitani
Chronology
Ca. 1807
Technique
Óleo
Support
Lienzo
Dimensions
307 cm x 462 cm
School
Española
Theme
Historia
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Real Museo, Galería de Artistas Contemporáneos, 1819); 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.

 
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