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Death of Cleopatra
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jtucker's picture

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Cleopatra was a bad bitch who knew how to get her way.

She may have had to manipulate and overthrow a few people to escalate herself to stardom, but her callous ways have left the world with nothing less than a great story. A tale which has gone on to inspire numerous artists who have given the world countless reproductions of this titillating temptress.   

Reni created multiple versions of this painting, all of which highlight this slightly unnecessary but much appreciated nip slip. I mean, you have to show something for the snake to sink its venomous fangs into. As easy as it may be to pin Reni as a bit of a perv for the whole death by breast situation, it was actually Shakespeare that added this spin on the tragic story of the queen’s death. While it is unclear as to why Shakespeare had the asp bite her breast, we at Sartle always love a good nip slip. 

Reni took some liberty with her skin as well. Cleopatra was of Greek descent, so probably not as milky white as the lady in this painting. Europeans do that all lot. (Ahem, Jesus.)

Many Renaissance artists have been influenced by the story of this unforgettable femme fatale. I mean, any woman who has the fortitude to seduce two of the most powerful Roman military leaders to solidify her grip on the Egyptian throne should obviously be admired. As heartless as her actions may seem, history tells us that she was actually deeply in love with Marc Anthony, and upon his death, she took her life as well. Romantic, huh? No wonder Shakespeare revolutionized this tragic love story. Plus, if you're trying to sell plays, a powerful seductress, wardrobe malfunction, and exotic deadly animals are bound to be a hit.