The Death of Cato of Utica



About the Subject
The Prix de Rome contests were discontinued temporarily during the Revolution of 1789. In 1797, the year that the contest was re-established, three works were awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in History Painting. Based on a text by Plutarch, each respectively portrays Cato of Utica (95-46 B.C.) expiring on his deathbed. Having been vanquished by Caesar during the battle at Thapsus, Cato chose to take his own life and die a stoic death. Cato gathered together his closest friends for the last time then asked one of his servants to bring his sword. Having guessed Cato's fateful intention, his companions tried to prevent him from accomplishing the deed, by hiding his sword. Later that night, Cato recovered the sword and stabbed it into his breast. Members of his household, alerted by the sound of an overturned table, rushed into the chamber where, to their horror, they say "him lie weltering in his blood, a great part of his bowels out of his body" (Plutarch).

BOUCHET Louis-André-Gabriel, 1797

BOUILLON Pierre, 1797

GUERIN Pierre-Narcisse, 1797