Nicolas Poussin executed this painting in Rome in 1651 for Cassiano dal Pozzo, a well-known scholar and patron of the arts. Its literary source is the tragic Romeo-and-Juliet-like story of Pyramus and Thisbe, told by Ovid in his ‘Metamorphoses’. Poussin chose the dramatic moment in which Thisbe discovers her dead lover. He has thrown himself upon his sword in the belief that Thisbe has been torn to pieces by a lioness. Here, the artist brilliantly combined the tragedy experienced by the characters with an ideal landscape and a depiction of the forces of nature.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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