Paintings of Cleopatra: Artworks of the Last Pharaoh Of Egypt

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Seductive eyes, a body as fragile as a glass, and shiny piercing eyes—but a femme fatale who can flip the world upside down when in rage!

Now you might be wondering whom I am talking about.

I am talking about the last pharaoh of Egypt, the bold queen, and the fiery Cleopatra VII. 

She is portrayed as a tragic heroine and a lover who was torn between two people in more recent history. 

With such a compelling mythology, it makes complete sense why so many famous painters have chosen to depict the mysterious Cleopatra. 

So, without further ado, let us start unfolding some of the famous paintings of Cleopatra. 

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Who was Cleopatra, and Why Was She Famous?

One of history’s most dramatic tales is that of Cleopatra and the paintings of Cleopatra are some of the famous artworks in the history.

It is not surprising that it served as a source of inspiration for so many authors, poets, and artists. 

Consequently, one must first comprehend the circumstances of Cleopatra’s life and death in order to properly comprehend representations of her in art. 

Cleopatra was the queen of Egypt from 51 to 30 BCE, and during this time, she actively influenced Roman politics.

She is particularly remembered for her friendships, or so called special relationships, with Mark Antony and Julius Caesar

No other ancient woman had ever served as the model for the romantic femme fatale, but she did. 

Cleopatra appears in many different forms in both myth and art. 

Some historians theorize that this is because of her phenomenal insight and capacity to shape herself to fit any circumstance. 

It might also be because Cleopatra has been portrayed so widely in literature and art, often reflecting the desired version of her rather than reality. 

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Cleopatra and the Asp by Guido Reni

Cleopatra and the Asp (c. 1628) by Guido Reni
Image Source: Wikipedia
Name of The ArtistGuido Reni
Year of Creation1628
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

One of the famous Italian painters Guido Reni has produced some of the finest works of his time, he was actively working through the years of 1575-1642.

Reni has produced well-known works like Saint Cecilia, Bacchus and Ariadne (circa 1619), etc.

Most of his works either have classical references or religious references.

Reni has depicted Cleopatra in such a way that she has been portrayed in a light of sympathy and also she adhered to the beauty standards of that time.

He portrayed her as a fair-skinned with sharp and soft textures and he also added a blush of rose colored to give cleopatra’s cheeks the rosy effect.

Considering the background of the imagery and the chiaroscuro effect Reni has beautifully represented the beauty of cleopatra.

As per Cleopatra’s expression she can be seen giving up on life but she has no regrets about it.

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Cleopatra Dissolving the Pearl in Wine by Andrea Casali

Cleopatra Dissolving the Pearl in Wine (c. 1754) by Andrea Casali
Image Source: Art UK
Name of The ArtistAndrea Casali
Year of Creation1754
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

Andrea Casali was a famous painter and an art dealer from Italy.

He was entitled as the Knight of the golden spur because of his capabilities and painting style.

He was a master at his work who painted for the Catholic Church and prestigious institutions of the era.

If we talk about some of his famous paintings and artworks then we can not miss to talk about the paintings like Lucretia (1750), Allegory of Spring (1760), Sir Charles Frederick, etc.

He has been painting some of the realist paintings of all time where he has also portrayed Cleopatra’s encounter with Mark Anthony.

This painting that he has titled as Cleopatra Dissolving the Pearl in Wine (1754).

In this painting, he has tried to add the instance of how Mark Anthony was seen praising Cleopatra about her classical attire and jewelry which she was wearing during the meet.

In this scene you can also see that they are surrounded by a lot of people who are claimed to be the courtmen and citizens.

It is believed that when Mark Anthony praised Cleopatra in terms of her jewelery, she removed one of her pearl earring and immediately dissolved in her glass of wine and took a sip out of it.

Many stories were claimed to have been made in reference to this painting, but history critics believed that Cleopatra loved Mark Anthony and her gesture was to prove her love towards him.

Cleopatra and the Peasant by Eugène Delacroix

Cleopatra and the Peasant (1838) by Eugène Delacroix
Image Source: Wikipedia
Name of The ArtistEugène Delacroix
Year of Creation1838
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

Titled as Cleopatra and the peasant, this painting was created by one of the famous French artists Eugène Delacroix.

He was born in 1789 and continued to work till his unfortunate death in 1863.

One of the finest artists of romanticism, Eugene created some of the most intriguing artworks and some of his most-known artworks are Liberty Leading the People (1830), Christ on the cross, Medea (1838), etc.

He was regarded as one of the most important Romantic artists of his time and is still highly regarded by art connoisseurs. 

Delacroix was known to be a fan of history and the facts related to it.

This is what he tried to depict in this painting, in which he has shown a sad Cleopatra with one of his peasant who has bought her an asp which was sent to her by one of her asp.

In this painting Delacroix has also focused on the jewels that has been wrapped on Cleopatra’s body, the shining diamonds and pearls.

It is also portrayed in this painting that no matter what jewels she worn or how much treasure she had, her emotions of sadness remained constant.

The peasant can be seen looking down with a look of respect in front of the highness and this scene depicts the last moments of Cleopatra’s life.

Also Read: Artists of Romanticism

The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, 41 BC, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, 41 BC (1883), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Image Source: Wikipedia
Name of The Artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Year of Creation1883
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra is a painting that was created by one of the renowned artist of the Victorian era, Alma-Tadema.

He was a famous Dutch painter who was active between 1836 and 1912.

In this painting, Cleopatra can be seen covered in a white silk fabric with leopard skin covering her and also with a majestic entrance she can be seen sitting on a throne.

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A lot of people can be seen welcoming the queen on her majestic entry, a man can also be seen playing flute in the corner as a gesture of welcome.

Tadema has painted this artwork in a more Roman theme and has given a fine academic approach to it.

If you look closely then you can see that he has tried to inculcate the importance of royal elements in the painting and has tried to portray Cleopatra as a high-valued queen.

In this painting you can notice that Cleopatra is been showcased as a faithful and a serene figure that reflects the historical facts as well.

Her entrance can also be seen decorated with garlands and beautiful royal decorations. 

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Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse

Cleopatra (c. 1888) by John William Waterhouse
Image Source: Wikipedia
Name of The ArtistJohn William Waterhouse
Year of Creation1888
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

A royal painting that has left viewers awestruck since the day it has been made live, Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse is the painting that I am talking about.

In this painting he has focused more on the sharp and piercing look in Cleopatra’s eyes.

She can be seen sitting on her throne with an asp sculpture by her side, where her hands rest.

Cleopatra is covered in white and golden fabric and is seen sporting a snake head-piece.

This painting is related with John’s connection with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

They were a group of artists who aimed at visually representing the Early and High Renaissance period.

Some of the famous artworks by John William includes, Lady of Shalott, Ophelia, Miranda-the tempest, etc.

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The Death of Cleopatra by Juan Luna

The Death of Cleopatra, by Juan Luna
Image Source: Wikipedia
Name of The ArtistJuan Luna
Year of Creation1881
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

The death of Cleopatra, a painting that not only depicts the sudden demise of the last pharaoh of Egypt but also marks the death of love in an epic story.

This painting is curated by the Filipino painter Juan Luna in 1881.

If you take a closer look at the painting then you can see the mourning people around the body of Cleopatra.

Cleopatra is portrayed laying on a bed lifeless, covered in gold and silver motifs and her usual royal attire.

Her servent can be seen in despair and crying for help.

Also, this painting not only hints at the death of the queen but also marks as a consciousness in the Filipino community.

Juan painted this during the time when there was a rise in colonization in Philippines.

So, this painting also reflects the talent of the artists like Juan and also their unity against the colonizers who were chipping their nation.

This painting can now be viewed in Madrid, Spain at the Museo del Prado. 

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The Banquet of Cleopatra by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Banquet of Cleopatra by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Image Source: Wikipedia
Name of The ArtistGiovanni Battista Tiepolo
Year of Creation1743–1744
Painting MediumOil on Canvas

This painting is created by one of the finest Italian painter and graphic artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

He was known for some of his famous paintings like, The Empire of Flora, Apollo and Daphne, The Banquet of Cleopatra, etc.

This is a famous painting of history that has been praised and appreciated by some of the famous art critics as well.

The scene in this painting is said to have been a snippet from a a well-known contest between the Egyptian and Roman emperors.

In this contest Cleopatra raised a bet that she could throw a feast on a much lavish scale than Mark Antony.

This painting can be seen focusing more on the royal artifacts and the courtroom setting.

You can observe a lot of people surrounding Cleopatra during the bet and also a basket of fruits can be seen kept on the table with few glasses of wine.

The way the glasses of wine and the basket of fruits are being made reminds us of the effects of chiaroscuro in some of the famous paintings by Caravaggio.

This painting is housed in National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.


This was about the paintings of Cleopatra, a fiery woman who lived on her own terms and efficiently managed the nation.

Also, there are a lot of speculations about her committing suicide and dealing with the death of her beloved Mark Anthony. 

Her suicide has been described in a variety of ways. 

The most well-known of these is that she provoked a venomous snake to bite her on the breast so that its venom would pierce right through to her heart.

Painters and artists have excellently tried to portray the beauty, struggles and femme fatale aura in the paintings of Cleopatra.

So, this was it about the paintings of Cleopatra.

If these paintings tempt you to get an artwork made for yourself, then you can definitely get it done within your budget.

To know more about how you can get a portrait made for yourself,

Author’s Note

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This was all about the paintings of Cleopatra.

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Did Cleopatra wear lipstick?

Yes, Cleopatra is said to have used red lipstick that was made from crushed ants and carmine beetles.

Where is Cleopatra buried?

Cleopatra’s tomb is assumed to be located near Alexandria, Egypt.

How old was Cleopatra when she became the queen?

Cleopatra was only 18-years-old when she became the queen.

Where did Cleopatra live?

Cleopatra lived in Alexandria and Rome.

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