FÜGER, Friedrich Heinrich
(b. 1751, Heilbronn, d. 1818, Wien)

Alcestis Sacrifices Herself for Admetus

1804-05
Oil on canvas, 194 x 139 cm
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

This Neoclassical scene is based on the Athenian tragedy by Euripides. The ancient Greek playwright tells how Alcestis, a paragon of conjugal love, consented to take the place of her husband, King Admetus, when he was about to die. In the painting Admetus lies on his deathbed, and Alcestis, in a statuesque pose, discloses her intention to sacrifice herself for Admetus to the dismay of all assembled.