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The Triumph of Cleopatra, also known as Cleopatra's Arrival in Cilicia and The Arrival of Cleopatra in Cilicia, is an oil painting by English artist William Etty. It was first exhibited in 1821, and is now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight across the River Mersey from Liverpool. During the 1810s Etty had become widely respected among staff and students at the Royal Academy of Arts, in particular for his use of colour and ability to paint realistic flesh tones. Despite having exhibited at every Summer Exhibition since 1811 he attracted little commercial or critical interest. In 1820 he exhibited The Coral Finder, which showed nude figures on a gilded boat. This painting attracted the attention of Sir Francis Freeling, who commissioned a similar painting on a more ambitious scal

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  • The Triumph of Cleopatra, also known as Cleopatra's Arrival in Cilicia and The Arrival of Cleopatra in Cilicia, is an oil painting by English artist William Etty. It was first exhibited in 1821, and is now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight across the River Mersey from Liverpool. During the 1810s Etty had become widely respected among staff and students at the Royal Academy of Arts, in particular for his use of colour and ability to paint realistic flesh tones. Despite having exhibited at every Summer Exhibition since 1811 he attracted little commercial or critical interest. In 1820 he exhibited The Coral Finder, which showed nude figures on a gilded boat. This painting attracted the attention of Sir Francis Freeling, who commissioned a similar painting on a more ambitious scale. The Triumph of Cleopatra illustrates a scene from Plutarch's Life of Antony and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, in which Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, travels to Tarsus in Cilicia aboard a magnificently decorated ship to cement an alliance with the Roman general Mark Antony. An intentionally cramped and crowded composition, it shows a huge group of people in various states of undress, gathering on the bank to watch the ship's arrival. Although not universally admired in the press, the painting was an immediate success, making Etty famous almost overnight. Buoyed by its reception, Etty devoted much of the next decade to creating further history paintings containing nude figures, becoming renowned for his combination of nudity and moral messages. (en)
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  • Gold boat full of naked people (en)
  • Naked people on a boat, naked people in the water around the boat, and a flying naked child blowing on the sails of the boat (en)
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  • Youth on the Prow, and Pleasure at the Helm (en)
  • A Sketch from One of Gray's Odes (en)
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  • Etty's Youth on the Prow pictures were condemned by some newspapers for their supposed indecency. The 1832 version became one of his best known works. (en)
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  • Etty Youth 1822.png (en)
  • Etty Youth 1832.jpg (en)
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  • Plutarch, Life of Anthony, translated by Sir Thomas North (en)
  • Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, March 1822 (en)
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  • The effect of this picture would have been much more intense had the painter treated it as a mere fact, and had not brought upon the scene those flying Cupids who turn the thing into a mythological fable. Real boys dressed like Cupids would have been proper, but aerial beings are impertinences, and put one out when one is thinking of the sex. If this amorous pageant had been a mere fiction, instead of having actually taken place, still the power of its delineation would have consisted in its probability. (en)
  • Therefore when she was sent unto by divers letters, both from Antonius himself and also from his friends, she made so light of it and mocked Antonius so much that she disdained to set forward otherwise but to take her barge in the river of Cydnus, the poop whereof was of gold, the sails of purple, and the oars of silver, which kept stroke in rowing after the sound of the music of flutes, howboys, cithernes, viols, and such other instruments as they played upon in the barge. And now for the person of herself: she was laid under a pavilion of cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddess Venus commonly drawn in picture; and hard by her, on either hand of her, pretty fair boys apparelled as painters do set forth god Cupid, with little fans in their hands, with the which they fanned wind upon her. Her ladies and gentlewomen also, the fairest of them were apparelled like the nymphs Nereides and like the Graces, some steering the helm, others tending the tackle and ropes of the barge, out of which there came a wonderful passing sweet savour of perfumes, that perfumed the wharf's side, pestered with innumerable multitudes of people. (en)
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  • The Triumph of Cleopatra, also known as Cleopatra's Arrival in Cilicia and The Arrival of Cleopatra in Cilicia, is an oil painting by English artist William Etty. It was first exhibited in 1821, and is now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight across the River Mersey from Liverpool. During the 1810s Etty had become widely respected among staff and students at the Royal Academy of Arts, in particular for his use of colour and ability to paint realistic flesh tones. Despite having exhibited at every Summer Exhibition since 1811 he attracted little commercial or critical interest. In 1820 he exhibited The Coral Finder, which showed nude figures on a gilded boat. This painting attracted the attention of Sir Francis Freeling, who commissioned a similar painting on a more ambitious scal (en)
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  • The Triumph of Cleopatra (en)
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