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  • Esther before Ahasuerus

    Artist:
    Poussin, Nicolas. 1594-1665
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    199x155 cm

Poussin, Nicolas. 1594-1665

Esther before Ahasuerus

France, Late 1650s

The artist took the subject of this painting from the Old Testament, which tells of how Queen Esther, the wife of the Persian King Ahasuerus (Xerxes), came to the King to beg mercy for her fellow-tribesmen and -women - the Jews living in the Persian state. By appearing in the royal apartments without a summons, she broke the rules of the court, an act usually punished by death. In the late period of Poussin?s career the structure of his canvases grew simpler, but the outward balance and calm conceal tension and drama. Compositionally the painting is divided into two parts: on the right Ahasuerus and his counsellors; on the left Esther and her attendants. The solemn grandeur of the succession of columns and niches containing statues further back sets the rhythm for the whole scene, but that strict order is disrupted by the group of handmaids, supporting Esther as she faints from emotion. Ahasuerus?s clothing is devoid of the adornments befitting a king, but the intense red of the cloak makes it seem a sumptuous outfit.

Title:

Esther before Ahasuerus

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

199x155 cm

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-1755

Category:

Collection: