Damián Campeny (1771 – 1855) is one of the best sculptors of the neoclassical style in Spain. And without a doubt, one of his most emblematic works is this marble that represents theDeath of Lucrecia, and which is currently exhibited in thePalacio de Lonja del Sea in Barcelona.
Death of Lucrezia de Campeny
The work was done in Rome, during the years in which he lived in the Italian capital and where he established contact with the great master Antonio Canova, who with works such as the portrait of Paolina Borghese or the mythological scene of Eros and Psyche is the great reference of neoclassical sculpture, and without a doubt a key influence in the production of Campeny.
Here we see the woman already dead, sitting with her left arm falling lifeless, her head in an impossible position for her neck and her body practically all of it in view thanks to the tight-fitting tunic that we can it seems transparent despite being marble. Without a doubt, an essentially neoclassical composition, like the chosen theme.
Lucretia was the wife of a patrician of Rome in the 6th century BC. A beautiful woman who was raped by Tarquino, the son of the king of Rome. A violation that was known publicly, for which the woman felt so much pain and shame that she ended up committing suicide. That death is what Campeny presents us.
We seeas she herself has stuck a dagger in her heart, from which the wound is apparent, while the knife has fallen to the ground and is at her feet.
The truth is that if we know the story of Antiquity we can add more literature to the work, but in reality its plasticity is such that we can easily identify that it is a female suicide, since the weight of the inert body tells us the whole scene.
In short, this is a work of great quality, and in which it can be seen that the pensioner who received Campeny to study in Rome really took advantage of it, since we appreciate that his sculpture is absolutely influenced by his knowledge of classical art and also by what he learned from watching the great master Canova.
In fact, although this sculptor also worked on other religious themes such as the Decapitation of Saint John the Baptist or inspiration from historical figures such as his Cleopatra , both preserved in the National Art Museum of Catalonia, the truth is that almost all of his production is mythological in theme, with works with titles like Vestal , Achilles ripping out his arrow or the Neptune Fountain that he made for the Catalan population of Igualada.