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Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi
Jean-François-Pierre Peyron

Cornelia was the mother of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, who later became celebrated land reformers in Republican Rome. Shown the collection of jewels belonging to a guest in her house, Cornelia pointed to the young Gracchi, declaring, 'There, madam, the richest jewels in my house.' The subject is ultimately from Valerius Maximus (4: 4), but a more immediate source for Peyron was probably Charles Rollin's 'Histoire Romaine' (1752).

The painting, like 'Belisarius receiving Hospitality from a Peasant', was made as an example of virtue. Both paintings are connected with larger pictures of the same subjects by Peyron now in Toulouse which were commissioned by the Abbé de Bernis (1752 - 1824), while the artist was in Rome.

Key facts
Artist Jean-François-Pierre Peyron
Artist dates 1744 - 1814
Full title Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi
Group Two Scenes from Ancient Roman History
Date made 1781
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 54.5 x 84.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1995
Inventory number NG6552
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Two Scenes from Ancient Roman History

These two paintings were made as sketches for pendants, or companion pieces, intended to be shown together.