Skip to main content
Marcia
Domenico Beccafumi
/

This panel is part of a series of decorations Beccafumi painted for the bedchamber of Francesco di Camillo Petrucci (b.1489), a wealthy merchant and landowner who was nephew of the ruler of the republic of Siena. The decorations were probably made to coincide with Francesco’s marriage to Caterina di Niccolò Mandoli Piccolomini in 1512.

Three of the surviving panels showed Roman heroines – Marcia, Tanaquil and Cornelia. They probably originally decorated the back of a bench seat. Marcia personified the virtues of marital fidelity and wifely obedience as well as fruitful maternity. She was first married to Marcus Porcius Cato and then at his own suggestion married his friend Hortensius. When Hortensius died Marcia returned to Cato. The paintings of the three heroines each contain a Latin couplet in gilt lettering, most likely composed by the scholar who devised the decorative scheme for the bedchamber.

Key facts
Artist Domenico Beccafumi
Artist dates 1484 - 1551
Full title Marcia
Series Classical Heroines from a Sienese Bedchamber
Date made about 1519
Medium and support Oil on canvas and Sundeala board, transferred from wood
Dimensions 92.1 x 53.3 cm
Acquisition credit Acquired by application of the 1956 Finance Act, 1965
Inventory number NG6369
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

Classical Heroines from a Sienese Bedchamber

/

These two Roman heroines, Marcia and Tanaquil, are part of a series of painted panels that decorated the bedchamber of Francesco di Camillo Petrucci (b. 1489), a wealthy merchant and landowner who was nephew of Pandolfo Petrucci, ruler of the republic of Siena. Celebrating themes of love, fertility, and wifely and maternal virtue, the decorations were probably made to coincide with Francesco’s marriage to Caterina di Niccolò Mandoli Piccolomini in 1512 and completed in about 1519.

Six of the paintings still exist, though they are in different collections. Three show Roman heroines (the one not in the National Gallery depicts Cornelia) and two feature the Roman festivals of Lupercalia and Cerealia, which were associated with male fertility and female fecundity. A painting of Venus and Cupid probably decorated the bedhead. The paintings of the three heroines and Lupercalia each contain a Latin couplet in gilt lettering likely to have been devised by the scholar responsible for the decorative programme.

;