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20 of 7,993

Leonardo Grazia, called Leonardo da Pistoia

(Italian, 1503–ca. 1548)

Lucretia

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Object Details

Artist

Leonardo Grazia, called Leonardo da Pistoia

Date

ca. 1541–45

Medium

Oil on panel

Dimensions

Panel: 34 5/8 × 24 1/2 inches (87.9 × 62.2 cm)
Frame: 43 3/8 × 34 1/2 × 3 inches (110.2 × 87.6 × 7.6 cm)

Credit Line

Acquired through the Nancy Horton Bartels, Class of 1948, Endowment

Object
Number

2018.013

Sixteenth-century Neapolitan theorist and physician Bartolomeo Maranta once wrote a scathing review (…)

Sixteenth-century Neapolitan theorist and physician Bartolomeo Maranta once wrote a scathing review of mannerist painter Leonardo da Pistoia’s oeuvre, in which the doctor ironically dismissed his contemporary’s habit of drawing models “from life.” In practice, Pistoia’s use of live models provided an opportunity for the artist to study complex muscular systems without the need for anatomy books or écorché figures. Pistoia’s anatomical interests are employed here to increase the dramatic climax of the story of Lucretia, a raped Roman noblewoman who publicly committed suicide in order to protect her virtue. Though Lucretia grasps a dagger with a graceful hand and steely gaze, her tensed bicep muscles and forearm tendons belie her stoic composure. These engaged muscles offer a glimpse into the conflicted psyche of a woman who must make the difficult decision between her life and her reputation. (“Undressed: The Nude in Context, 1500-1750,” text by Brittany R. R. Rubin and presented at the Johnson Museum February 9-June 16, 2019)

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