SVA alumnus Sam Weber (MFA 2005 Illustration as Visual Essay) painted the alluring face of Cleopatra that graces the latest cover of National Geographic. The image, which accompanies the feature story “Searching for the Real Cleopatra,” is a fictitious representation of the ancient Egyptian queen. Weber said the artwork was intended more to evoke a sense of her “strength and character” than to provide an accurate likeness, in part due to the limited historical details of Cleopatra’s physical traits.
One of the most striking elements of the painting is the earring, featuring a golden snake wrapped around pearl. The snake suggests the myth of Cleopatra’s death by self-inflicted snake bite, whereas the pearl alludes to a story in which she dissolves the gem in wine as “testament to her wealth and power,” Weber said. For more information about Weber’s cover art, visit his blog.
Image: National Geographic July 2011 cover with artwork by Sam Weber.