Like most of Rembrandt's paintings, there is a story behind this one. Lucretia was the wife of a Roman nobleman, known for her great virtue. Her youthful beauty was desired by the son of the ruling emperor who told Lucretia she either slept with him or he would kill her and put her body into bed with her manservant. Lucretia made the devastating confession of her "choice" to her husband and father-in-law. Then, in their presence, she plunged a knife into her own heart.
She is so young, so sad, so beautiful as her life pours out. And Rembrandt's genius makes me want to reach out and hug the poor child! I always walk away with a big sigh, as if I have just had a good, cleansing cry.
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