(b. 1484/85, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, d. 1545, Strasbourg)

Pyramus and Thisbe

c. 1530
Linden panel, 93 x 67 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

This painting depicts the story of Pyramus and Thisbe as Ovid tells in Metamorphoses (4:55-166). The lovers, forbidden by their parents to marry, planned to meet in secret one night beside a spring. Thisbe arrived first but as she waited a lioness, fresh from a kill, came to quench its thirst, its jaws dripping blood. Thisbe fled, in her haste dropping her cloak which the beast proceeded to tear to shreds. When Pyramus arrived and discovered the bloody garment he believed the worst. Blaming himself for his lover's supposed death he plunged his sword into his side. Thisbe returned to find her lover dying and so, taking his sword, threw herself upon it. This story became widely popular in post-Renaissance painting.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.