Flight of Cloelia

WAG 150


Cloelia was one of Rome's legendary heroes and the daughter of an aristocrat. She was given as a hostage to the Etruscans, a rival group occupying the area that is now modern day Italy. Here she is seen escaping her captors on horseback across the river Tiber. She turns to help some of her companions on the right side of the painting, while Roman soldiers greet them on the left. The subject was popular in France after a novel based on the story was published in the mid 17th century. This work is possibly by Bertholet Flémal, a follower of Nicolas Poussin. This is one of the artworks presented by the Liverpool Royal Institution. Liverpool’s economic development grew directly from Britain’s involvement with transatlantic slavery: the kidnapping, enslavement and forced migration of people from West Africa to the Americas and many to the Caribbean. Many members of the Royal Institution made their fortunes directly through the trade or indirectly through the wider economy. This wealth was largely how they were able to bring rare art and treasures, such as this, to the city