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Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-Bologna 1642)

Cleopatra with the Asp c. 1628

Oil on canvas | 114.2 x 95.0 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405338

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Here we see the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra moments before the end of her life, as the asp rears its head ready to deliver its venomous bite. Reni dramatically conveys the foreboding of her passage from life to death. The transition is particularly noticeable in the colour that drains from her extremities, indicating a shift from warm flesh and blood to cold marble.