STRATHMANN, Carl
(b. 1866, DŘsseldorf, d. 1939, MŘnchen)

Salammb˘

c. 1894
Oil on canvas, 187 x 287 cm
Kunstsammlungen zu Schlossmuseum, Weimar

Strathmann's most famous picture is Salammb˘, representing the fictional title character of a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. Lovis Corinth wrote of the painting in 1903: "Soon, however, the model was sent home, and Strathmann gradually covered his Salammb˘'s nakedness with more and more rugs and fantastical garments of his own invention, so that by the end only a mystical profile and the fingers of one hand peeped out from amongst a profusion of ornamental fabrics."

Flaubert's novel is set in Carthage immediately before and during the Mercenary Revolt (241-237 B.C.). It was enormously popular when first published and jumpstarted a renewed interest in the history of the Roman Republic's conflict with the North African Phoenician colony of Carthage.

Salammb˘ is a priestess and the daughter of the foremost Carthaginian general. She is the object of the obsessive lust of Matho, a leader of the mercenaries. Matho steals the sacred veil of Carthage, the Zaïmph, prompting Salammb˘ to enter the mercenaries' camp in an attempt to steal it back. The Zaïmph is an ornate bejewelled veil, the city's guardian, and touching it will bring death to the perpetrator.




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