Caterina Cornaro receives news of deposition of Queen of Cyprus

Francesco Hayez
1842

A brocade awning frames this scene pervaded by an enchanted atmosphere of stillness and silence. The painting depicts the culminating episode in the story of Caterina Cornaro, which was so popular in the first half of the nineteenth century that it inspired various historic novels and operatic works. Giorgio Cornaro informs his sister Caterina, the queen of Cyprus, that the Republic of Venice has decided to depose her, and announces her forthcoming confinement in the castle of Asolo. The painting is constructed as the scene of a melodrama, with a skilful use of light and carefully studied poses and gestures.

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