Manuel Domínguez Sánchez: The Death of Seneca (1871)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A historical painting by the Spanish artist Manuel Domínguez Sánchez (1840-1906). The painting shows the suicide of of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), a Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist. In AD 65, the Roman senator Gaius Calpurnius Piso plotted against emperor Nero to have him overthrown. Piso enlisted the help of people and planned to have himself declared emperor with the help of the imperial bodyguard (the Praetorian Guard). The plot was discovered and Piso and other people involved were either forced to commit suicide, executed or exiled - including Seneca who was ordered by Nero to kill himself. Seneca attempted several methods to kill himself (cutting of veins, taking poison) but in the end he died by sitting in a bath and suffocating from the smoke of a brazier. Painting from 1871.