The painting depicts Lucretia as a full-length standing figure in a fur coat.
Her head is inclined slightly to the left and she looks at the viewer. Her hands are lowered and grasp the long dagger, which she points at her chest. Lucretia wears a sumptuous gown. This reaches down to the ground, is trimmed with fur and decorated with embroidery on the sleeves and the hem. Beneath a transparent undergarment is visible. Lucretia's light hair is pinned up and covered with a veil. To complement the sumptuous gown she wears precious jewellery: a thick linked chain, a chain decorated with pearls and precious stones, a simple (leather) band with a pendant and a bracelet.
The background is dark, but Lucretia stands on a light coloured floor.
According to the legend Lucretia lived in the 6th century BC and was the beautiful and virtuous wife of the roman Collatinus. The roman King's son - Sextus Tarquinius fell in love with her. During a stay in her house Sextus threatened to kill her and shame her honour if she did not surrender to him. After the rape Lucretia had her father and husband vow vengeance and then she stabbed herself. The event led to an uprising in which the royal family was overthrown and the Roman Empire became a Republic.
Depictions of Lucretia who was seen as the epitomy of female virtue, chastity, fidelity and honour enjoyed great popularity, particularly in the 16th century.
[Literature: Bierende 2002, Follak 2002, Livius 1909]