Cleopatra, the greatest queen of Egypt, was immortalized by Shakespeare and a thousand others since her reign. Towards her end, Cleopatra indulged in a passionate love affair with Marc Antony, the rebellious Roman general. When the Roman army invaded Egypt Cleopatra heard rumors that Antony had committed suicide and immediately called for poisonous snakes to be smuggled to her in a basket of figs. As she put the death-dealing fangs to her breast, so too did her attendants. With her, the whole of the Egyptian empire would fall.
This painting is in Swart’s Myths and Legends show opening at Figure Ground Art Gallery in Seattle on July 7th, 2022. Read a review of the show: The Art of Martijn Caspar Swart: Making Light in the Dark