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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Deutscher Kunstverlag (DKV) April 19, 2019

I Am Cleopatra: The Seduction and Stoicism of a Newly Identified Painting by Matthäus Merian the Younger (1621 – 1687)

  • Jahel Sanzsalazar EMAIL logo


A previously anonymous Death of Cleopatra is here attributed to the Basel-born painter Matthäus Merian the Younger. Besides crucial stylistic connections with his known works, further evidence is given by a signed engraving, which was never associated with any known painting. The print is inscribed with a poem and a dedication to his patron Baron Septimus Jörger von Tollet. Word and image summarize the fascination and criticism that Cleopatra has aroused since antiquity. Presenting a warning against the power of her seduction while exhibiting her stoic death by virtue of the constancy of her love for Mark Antony, they respond to Merian’s adherence to the principles of Neostoicism. Merian creates a remarkably original Cleopatra that provides a key for future identifications of this lesser-known facet of his oeuvre.


Elke Allgaier, Christine Bernheiden, Wolfgang Cilleßen, Beate Dannhorn, Guillermo Fatás, Jenny Graser, Margitta Heinlein, José Javier Iso Echegoyen, Hans-Martin Kaulbach, Maria Mangliers, Regina Moreira, Alfonso Palata Urzaiz, Mary L. Pixley, Rajesh Punj, Martin Sonnabend, Laura Suffield, Matthias Weniger, Jeffrey B. Wilcox, Antonia Putzger, and the anonymous readers who reviewed this contribution.

  1. Photo credits: 1 Thomas Clot. — 2 Alonso. — 3 Museum of Art & Archaeology, University of Missouri. — 4 Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie Dessau. — 5 Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. — 6, 7 Public domain. — 8 Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg. — 9 Galerie Neuse, Bremen. — 10 Palazzo Pitti. — 11 Historisches Museum Frankfurt / photo: Horst Ziegenfusz. — 13, 15– 17 British Museum. — 14 Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Published Online: 2019-04-19

© 2019 Jahel Sanzsalazar, published by De Gruyter

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