Collection Online
Roman Charity
oil on canvas
76.3 × 63.5 cm
inscribed (diagonally) in black paint l.c.: i. Zoffanÿ / inv:
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1932
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Roman Charity depicts a story told by the Roman historian Valerius Maximus in his Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX (Nine books of memorable deeds and sayings) of around AD 30. The story involves Cimon, an old man awaiting execution in prison, who was given no food. His daughter Pero visited him, and suckled him at her own breast like a child. Pero’s nourishing of Cimon was considered a sterling example of paying honour to one’s parents.


Loosely related to Spanish style frames, the current framing of Roman Charity came with the painting in 1932 and is likely to have been made around the time of acquisition.

The painting was cleaned and restored in 2016.

Unknown - 20th century

gilded composition ornament on a wooden base.