Artist: Frederic, Lord Leighton (British, Scarborough 1830–1896 London)

Date: ca. 1894–95

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 62 x 24 3/4 in. (157.5 x 62.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1896

Accession Number: 96.28


Leighton’s nickname, "Jupiter Olympus," reflected his passion for classical antiquity and his status as a titan of British art. This work, made the near end of his life, takes its title from the Latin word for "tears." The woman’s grief is symbolized by the withered wreath, setting sun, and cypresses, traditional emblems of mourning. A review of the 1895 Royal Academy exhibition in London imagined her visiting the ashes of her war-hero fiancé. Leighton’s classicism is evident in the visual rhyme of the column and the draped figure; the ornamented vessels; and the tabernacle frame, which evokes a temple doorway.