The Vestal Virgin Tuccia

The painting is unusual among Moroni's secular paintings - the others which survive are portraits. It may be intended as a personification of Chastity but also represents the Roman priestess of Vesta, Tuccia, who proved her virginity by miraculously carrying water in a sieve (the line of the water here is just above the holes) and may have been one of a series of paintings of ancient heroines (comparable with the two smaller paintings by Beccafumi on view in Room 8).

The inscription, which may be translated 'Chastity emerges from the dark clouds of Infamy', is adapted from Valerius Maximus, the ancient Roman author who tells the story of Tuccia. The painting is likely to date from about 1560.

Key facts

Artist dates
1520/4 - 1579
Full title
The Vestal Virgin Tuccia
Date made
about 1555
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
152.5 x 86.9 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number
Location in Gallery