After the fall of Troy, the Trojan women were divided among the Greeks. Achilles arose from his grave and demanded that Polyxena, the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, be slain on his tomb in order to join him in the afterlife. Behind a blindfolded Polyxena who awaits her fate on a sacrificial altar in this image, Achilles appears in warrior’s garb on a rearing horse. The Dutch De Lairesse’s figures are firmly modeled, and the space clearly defined with classical architecture, and reflect his interest in French art of the same period.

Download this artwork (provided by The Cleveland Museum of Art).
Learn more about this artwork.


  • Title: The Sacrifice of Polyxena
  • Creator: Gerard de Lairesse (Flemish, 1641-1711)
  • Date Created: 1667
  • Physical Dimensions: Platemark: 30.5 x 38.7 cm (12 x 15 1/4 in.); Sheet: 33.1 x 41.4 cm (13 1/16 x 16 5/16 in.)
  • Provenance: James Bergquist, Boston, MA, sold to The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/2021.169
  • Medium: etching
  • State of work: II/VI
  • Inscriptions: in plate: Gerardus Lairesse inventor/fecit et excudit Amstelodami, Inscription or possible description in what appears to be French on verso. Nearly illegible.
  • Fun Fact: Gerard de Lairesse was called the “Dutch Poussin” for his role in bringing a French artistic style to the Netherlands in the late 17th century.
  • Department: Prints
  • Culture: Netherlands
  • Credit Line: L. E. Holden Fund
  • Collection: PR - Etching
  • Accession Number: 2021.169

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps