« PreviousContinue »
THE DEATH OF CATO.
AFTER the battle of Pharsalia, Cato, who had supported Pompey against Cæsar, whose designs he considered dangerous to the Roman liberty, retired to Africa, thinking that Pompey had fled thither. He and his troops endured great hardships in their march across the desarts, and at last joined Scipio at Utica, with whom he had some difference about the mode of carrying on the war. Cato also gave offence to that general, by sparing those inhabitants of Utica who were attached to Cæsar. When that conqueror, whom he had so long opposed, came before the place, and all hopes of a successful resistance to his arms were vanished, Cato retired to his chamber, and, after reading Plato's dialogue on the Immortality of the Soul, fell upon his sword and expired,
B. C. 45.
Such is the subject of the present picture.
The composition is well designed, and the characters of the personages ably delineated. The expression of Cato, depictures a man of the most determined inflexibility. He repels the attention of his physician with violence, but with a composed mind. The entreaties of his friends appear fruitless. Could any consideration attach
him to life, he would have yielded to the prayers of his son; but he had sworn not to survive the liberties of Rome.
This picture exhibits the talents of M. Boucher in a very favourable light. He has since produced several works which have met with considerable applause.