About this artwork
Dido, Queen of Carthage, was deserted by her lover Aeneas, a prince of Troy and a hero of the Trojan War. Devastated, she built a pyre to burn his possessions. Upon ascending the pyre and lamenting her cruel fate, Dido took her life with the sword she had given to Aeneas.
In this preparatory sketch for a painting, Fuseli hews closely to the story as recounted in the ancient Roman poet Virgil’s epic poem about Rome’s founding, the Aeneid. Dido’s sister Anna weeps at the dead queen’s feet, while Iris, sent by Juno, cuts a lock of her hair to free her soul from her body.
- Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Henry Fuseli
- Sketch for 'Dido on the Funeral Pyre' (recto); Erotic Sketch of Man and Woman (verso)
- Oil paint over charcoal (recto), and black chalk (verso), on ivory laid paper
- 539 × 372 mm
- The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection