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.