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The Vestal Virgin Tuccia

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You are viewing image NG3123

Giovanni Battista MORONI , 1520/4 - 1579

The Vestal Virgin Tuccia

Date: about 1555
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 152.5 x 86.9 cm
Acquisition credit: Layard Bequest, 1916

The painting is unusual among Moroni's secular paintings - the others which survive are portraits. It may be intended as a personification of Chastity but also represents the Roman priestess of Vesta, Tuccia, who proved her virginity by miraculously carrying water in a sieve (the line of the water here is just above the holes) and may have been one of a series of paintings of ancient heroines (comparable with the two smaller paintings by Beccafumi on view in Room 8).

The inscription, which may be translated 'Chastity emerges from the dark clouds of Infamy', is adapted from Valerius Maximus, the ancient Roman author who tells the story of Tuccia. The painting is likely to date from about 1560.




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