Domenico Maria Canuti
(Bologna 1625 – 1684)

Volumnia and Coriolano

Oil on canvas, 80 x 170 cm (31 x 67 inches)

Bustle, gestures and expressions – a short distance from Rome, as the outline of the Pyramid of Cestius and the drum of Hadrian’s tomb tell us. Volumnia with her children, her mother Veturia and a group of young friends shield the city with their bodies, barring the way of her husband Gnaeus Marcius, known as Coriolanus (thanks to the valour shown in the capture of Corioli) who had decided to march against his own people at the head of the Volsci, in revenge. The courage of the weakest is rewarded, whereas the fate of the Roman Commander is uncertain; some would like to see him killed without discomfort whereas others would prefer his death by the edge of a blade (like Shakespeare’s Coriolanus “Yet he shall have a noble memory”).