Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: The Banquet of Cleopatra (1744)

 (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia)

A painting by one of my favorite artists. This painting shows a story from Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. According to the story Cleopatra and Mark Antony were having a wager who could provide the most expensive feast. After Mark Antony's feast, Queen Cleopatra drops a rare and precious pearl from her earring into a cup of vinegar and drinks it once the pearl has dissolved and wins the wager. At the table we can see Cleopatra (about to drop the pearl in the vinegar), Mark Anthony (with the helmet) and Lucius Munatius Plancus who was to decide the winner of the wager. Around them are standing several servants and a court dwarf. All the people are dressed in a mix of 18th century clothes and Roman clothes. Painting from 1744.