The Death of Britannicus

Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol French

Not on view

This is the only known full composition study for Abel de Pujol’s first major success at the Salon, "The Death of Britannicus," for which he won a first-class medal in 1814. The painter drew upon the tragedy from Roman history as recounted by Jean Racine in 1669. At center, Agrippina strides forward pointing at her son Nero, accusing him of poisoning Britannicus, whose collapsed body appears highlighted in white on the left. The planar composition, strong light effects, and voluminous drapery enhance the theatricality of the scene.

The Death of Britannicus, Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol (French, Valenciennes 1785–1861 Paris), Pen and black ink, brush and brown wash, heightened with white gouache over graphite and red chalk

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.