The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Death of Cleopatra
  • Footed Bowl
  • The Death of Cleopatra
  • Martial Ydeux
  • Limoges, France
  • c. 1550 - c. 1575
  • On a deep, broad copper bowl with separately constructed, slightly spreading shoert foot that ternminates in a spreading, step base, the Death of Cleopatra is depicted in grisaille enamel, with enlevage and gilding.
  • Height: 8.5 cm
    Diameter: 24 cm, of bowl
    Weight: 568 g
    Diameter: 12.7 cm, of foot
  • Signature: 'MD PP'
  • C588
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The fate of Cleopatra, who killed herself following the suicide of her lover Anthony and her defeat by the Romans under Octavian, inspired many sixteenth-century French writers and artists. The interior of this bowl shows the moment when the reclining Cleopatra applied two poisonous asps (venomous snakes) to her breasts, watched by her horrified attendants. The decoration in the bowl is based on an engraving by Jean Mignon, probably after a design by Luca Penni of c.1544. Mignon and Penni were employed by François I at Fontainebleau. The fashionable style of decoration associated with the château is reflected in the queen’s elongated body and the elaborate fruit-filled border.