. Oil on canvas, 123 x 159 cm. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. Read Note.
Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus and Octavia. Virgil (70 –19 BC) was the favorite poet of the Roman Emperor Augustus and author of the epic poem the Aeneid, which recounts the adventures of the Trojan Aeneas after the fall of Troy. It was said that when Virgil was reciting the poem to Augustus and his sister Octavia, the latter was so moved when she heard the lines devoted to her dead son Marcellus that she lost consciousness. On Kauffman’s painting, Virgil holds a scroll with lines from the poem: "Tu Marcellus eris…"
See also: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Virgil Reading Aeneid to Augustus, Octavia, and Livia.