The painting depicts Lucretia as a standing three-quarter length figure with a view of a landscape in the background.
Her head is inclined to the right and she gazes into the far distance. In her right hand, which is lowered she holds the short dagger pointed up towards her. In her left hand she holds the gown. This is dark red and trimmed with fur, and covers both shoulders. Under the gown she wears a transparent undergarment. Around her neck she wears a neckband set with precious stones and with a pendant. Her hair is pinned up.
The left side of the background is dark, but a landscape with a river and a castle is visible on the right.
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]