Schwenke Auctioneers - Anniversary Fine Estates Auction - May 22

Historic Drama to Artistic Masterpiece: Cleopatra by Julius Kronberg

  • February 13, 2019 16:04

  • Email
Cleopatra by Julius Kronberg. Signed and dated 1883. This incredible Academic masterpiece was commissioned in 1879 by Count Fredrick Wachtmeister and resided in Tistad Castle for over 130 years.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
Wrought with depth, emotion and awe-inspiring details, this incredible oil on canvas is one of the handful of stand-alone paintings Kronberg ever composed.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
The artist's signature and date are clearly visible in the lower right of the canvas.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

A larger-than-life personality guided by power, political alliances, civil wars and seduction, Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra VII has inspired countless generations of artists to capture some of the most telling moments of her life in nearly every medium imaginable. But no other portrait captures the dramatic end of her remarkable existence than this monumental genre masterpiece by Swedish artist Julius Kronberg.

 

This breathtaking original oil on canvas measures over 13 feet tall, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the very moment Cleopatra famously took her own life by allowing a highly poisonous asp to bite her. It is believed Kronberg’s inspiration was William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra which was published in Sweden for the first time in 1825.

 

After Antony and Cleopatra’s defeat at the hands of Octavian, Antony took his own life mistakenly believing his beloved Queen was already dead. News of this reached Cleopatra who, overtaken by both the grief of his loss and pride in not wanting to surrender, she decides to commit suicide with her handmaidens, Charmain and Iras. It is this very moment Kronberg depicts – with Iras already dead on the ground and Charmain writhing in agony as Cleopatra grabs the asp with a posture of strength and determination in her expression.

 

Taking cues from Orientalist works, the artist presents an amazingly intricate and vibrant interior that exudes exoticism and spectacle, with the Queen and her two attendants set amidst the lavishness of a royal chamber. This is marvelously juxtaposed by their twisted, strained poses which exude the tragedy and anguish unfolding in this tour de force of Academic art.

 

Kronberg created very few stand-alone paintings during his career, preferring large-scale murals and ceiling works. Those he did execute were commissioned by wealthy, private Swedish clients. This very work was painted for Count Frederick Wachtmeister and his family’s Tistad Castle, where this painting resided until just recently. With the majority of those few paintings residing in prestigious Swedish museums, this grand masterwork stands as arguably the greatest Academic work of art currently on the market.

 

Learn more about Cleopatra by Julius Kronberg

 

About M.S. Rau Antiques:
M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors worldwide. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, our peerless showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of museum-quality fine art by artists such as Claude Monet and William Bouguereau18th- and 19th-century antiques, and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.


  • Email

Beauty, Rarity, History...The M.S. Rau Antiques Blog

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau Antiques is among the premier antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our 25,000 square foot gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, created by legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, and our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

More Posts from Beauty, Rarity, History...The M.S. Rau Antiques Blog

This ivory-topped Doctor's Cane contains everything needed to make a house call.

The Un-cane-y World of Canes

  • August 26th, 2010 13:51

Canes and walking sticks, upon first mention, sound perhaps like the least interesting objects in the world to ...

Read More...
A rare and stunning Burmese Imperial jadeite is the star of this striking ring

What’s in a Name? The Splendor of Imperial Jadeite Jewelry

  • September 20th, 2010 14:55

“Gold is estimable; but Jade is priceless.”  –Chinese proverb Shrouded behind a veil of verdant mystery for ...

Read More...
Deep blue, violet and emerald hues shimmer in this magnificent ginger jar in the "Jewelled Tree" pattern with "Cat and Mouse and Copper Trees" panels

Elves, Nymphs and Fairies–Oh My!: Illustrious Fairyland Lustre by Wedgwood

  • September 28th, 2010 07:50

An over-200-year-old company finds itself on the verge of financial ruin as war rages on. It's only savior an unknown ...

Read More...
This monumental chandelier is saturated with oversized, luminous prisms and beads of fine Baccarat crystal

Baccarat…Crystal Fit for a King

  • October 13th, 2010 07:58

In response to a wealthy landowner's request to make the best use of the natural resources of the infertile Baccarat ...

Read More...

ARTFIXdaily Artwire