Object Image

The Death of Germanicus

The young Roman general Germanicus has just been poisoned by his jealous adoptive father, the emperor Tiberius. On his deathbed, Germanicus asks his friends to avenge his murder and his wife to endure her sorrow bravely. A key work in Western painting, this tragic picture presents a moral lesson in stoic heroism, notably in the restraint and dignity of the mourning soldiers.

This work-Poussin's first major history painting-became the model for countless deathbed scenes for the next two centuries. Many powerful human themes figure here: death, suffering, injustice, grief, loyalty, revenge. Poussin drew on Roman antiquity for the form as well as the subject. The composition, with figures crowded...

Oil on canvas
58.2 x 78.0in
Image and text courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2022

Where you'll find this

Minneapolis Institute of Art
Permanent collection