Alma-Tadema, Lawrence
Fredegund by the Deathbed of Bishop Praetextatus. 1864

Oil on wood
65 х 89 cm.

The subject of the picture Fredegund by the Deathbed of Bishop Praetextatus about Queen Fredegund, the wife of King Chilperic I, was taken by the artist from the History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours and the Tale of the Merovingians by Augustin Thierry. According to the legend, Fredegund, a former serving girl at Chilperic's court, managed to become first the king's mistress and then, after the death of Queen Galswintha, his wife. Many bloody events that took place in the Merovingian kingdom during the second half of the sixth century are associated with the name of Fredegund. In particular, Praetextatus, who held the office of Bishop of Rouen against the wishes of the queen, was murdered on her orders after the death of Chilperic. This picture brought the artist his first taste of real success. In 1864 it was shown at the Winter Salon in Brussels, where it was greatly praised and purchased for a Salon charity lottery.