Messalina by Henrique Bernardelli

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Messalina by Henrique Bernardelli

Painting NameMessalina
Painter NameHenrique Bernardelli
Current LocationPublic collection

The Brazilian painter from 19th century has depicted a controversial historical figure Messalina lying on a bed. She has been depicted as a symbol of promiscuity in ancient times. Her image and reputation has been defined as a immoral impact and to call a woman Messalina means negative and devious meanings.

Remembering the roman emperor’s cheating wife, artist has depicted the exhausting moment after the intercourse. It represents her promiscuity and the traitorous behavior towards her husband Claudius. She was executed by her husband at the end when the conspiracy got known by him. The king gave her two options to kill herself or get killed by the arresting officer. Too scared to stab herself, she got killed by the officer at the end.

She has been depicted as the symbol of sexual desires and promiscuity many times by different artists. Artists may have attracted towards her character due to her strange personality of the time. She had the habit of promiscuity and was planning against her husband. That’s an interesting character to paint, write or film upon. And there are many plays and films depicting her as the prominent character.

Observing this Messalina’s life we can say that may be there were strict rules in the past times for certain behaviors or certain acts which were out-casted by the societies. Today, the rules are wearing off and people are being more liberal and self-centered in a mannered way, instead of thinking frantically about the social rules. But, in past times or today’s times, the mentality of a human nature has not changed a lot. It always does what it wants no matter what time, place or danger there is hanging upon its neck.




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