Oil on canvas, 246.5cm by 301cm.
The painting depicts the suicide of the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca. He had been an influential tutor to the young Nero and remained his close adviser after Nero became emperor in AD54.
Eventually, as Seneca’s influence waned, Nero claimed that he had been involved in a conspiracy to assassinate him and demanded that Seneca commit suicide.
Luca Giordano was one the favourite artists of John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), whose work he much admired and from whom he bought several canvases whilst on the Grand Tour.
The 1688 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The Drawing Roome… 4 very Large pictures in Guilt fframes viz. a Seneca, a Europa, St John decollating and a Diana & Acteon by Jordanus’. It is a pair to PIC397.