Oil on canvas.
Dido, the sister of Pygmalion, the Phoenician king of Tyre, was the mythical founder and first queen of Carthage. Pygmalion murdered her husband Sychaeus to take possession of his treasures. But Dido fled with the treasures. In Libya she bought land from the local king, which she surrounded with strips of an ox hide, thereby determining the future borders of Carthage. One day, as the result of a powerful storm, Aeneas landed on the shores of Carthage on his journey from Troy. Dido fell hopelessly in love with him, but Aeneas was compelled by Jove (Greek Zeus) to continue on his journey, so the desperate Dido resolved to commit suicide. She forced her sister Anna to build a pyre of wood and put there everything that reminded her of Aeneas. In the distance, from his boat, Aeneas saw the burning pyre with Dido, who stabbed herself with the sword she received from her lover. Afterwards, she was revered by the inhabitants of Carthage as a goddess.
In this painting, Dido is depicted at the moment when she stabs herself with the sword on the pyre heaped with memories of Aeneas. The scene takes place indoors; in the background, there is a double bed and a woman leaving, most likely Anna. Through the window, a glimpse of Carthage can be seen. In the upper left corner is Iris, goddess of the rainbow, sent by Juno (Greek Hera) to cut off a lock of dying Dido’s hair, thus freeing her soul.