The Vestal Virgin Tuccia with a Sieve

Tuccia was a Vestal Virgin. When her chastity was questioned she proved her innocence by carrying a sieve full of water from the Tiber to the Temple of Vesta. She was celebrated in Pliny's 'Natural History' (28: 12) and Petrarch's 'Triumph of Chastity'.

This panel and 'A Woman Drinking' are obviously related despite their differing size and being lit from opposite directions. They are painted in simulation of gilt bronze against a fictive background of coloured marble. Isabella d'Este had 'feigned bronze' picture by Mantegna in her studiolo, and these may have been for a similar interior.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1431 - 1506
Full title
The Vestal Virgin Tuccia with a Sieve
Date made
about 1495-1506
Medium and support
Egg tempera on poplar
72.5 x 23 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1882
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Two Exemplary Women of Antiquity

Andrea Mantegna
about 1495-1506
Andrea Mantegna: 'A Woman Drinking'