Thomas Stothard
Intemperance: Mark Antony and Cleopatra c.1802, ?exhibited 1805

Artwork details

Thomas Stothard 1755–1834
Intemperance: Mark Antony and Cleopatra
Date c.1802, ?exhibited 1805
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 495 x 749 mm
frame: 828 x 1092 x 105 mm
Acquisition Presented by Robert Vernon 1847
Not on display

Display caption

'Intemperance' shows Mark Antony embracing Cleopatra as she drops a pearl into her goblet of wine. Mark Antony was one of the three triumvirs, rulers of Rome. He and Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, were lovers. John Lempriere's 'Classical Dictionary', first published in 1788 and well known to many artists and writers of Stothard's day, notes that 'Cleopatra was a voluptuous and extravagant woman, and in one of the feasts she gave to Antony at Alexandria, she melted pearls in her drink to render her entertainment more sumptuous and expensive.'. This picture relates to a large-scale decorative scheme which Stothard painted for the staircase at Burghley House, Northamptonshire.

August 2004

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