When her beloved Mark Antony was defeated at the battle of Actium in 31 B.C. Cleopatra committed suicide. Cagnacci made two versions, one without the maidens and this one. It shows Cleopatra sitting slumped in her chair, but still looking beautiful. The poisonous snake that bit her is visible on her right arm. The posture and grieving of maidens around her make it clear they were helping her with the act.