Cleopatra II

Jan Zrzavý

Jan Zrzavý - Cleopatra II
The queen of the Ptolemaist dynasty holds a prominent position in the oeuvre of Jan Zrzavý, and a long process preceded its completion. The nocturnal landscape lit by the moon and palm trees which are made of gold foil forms the ground for the red body of Cleopatra, half-seated or half-lying on gold and green drapery. While the pyramids in the back refer to Egypt, the drapery is more associated with medieval painting. The overall simplification of shapes follows the classicist and archaising depictions; the symbolism of colours which Zrzavý discussed with Bohumil Kubišta is important (red means life, green means death).
measurements: height 202 cm
width 181 cm
in collections:
material: canvas on plywood
technique: tempera, gold
inventory number: O 13050
gallery collection: Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism