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  • Jacob Burying Laban's Images

    Artist:
    Bourdon, Sébastien. 1616-1671
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    100x140 cm

Bourdon, Sébastien. 1616-1671

Jacob Burying Laban's Images

France, 17th century

According to the Biblical text, Jacob?s sons avenged their sister Dinah, who had been dishonoured by the son of the ruler of Shechem, by sacking the city and killing all its inhabitants and taking the strange gods together with all other property. Jacob was displeased with the action of Simeon and Levi and ordered his retainers to throw out the idols and cleanse themselves. "And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem? (Genesis 35, 4). The choice of this rather rare subject, which was repeated several times in Bourdon?s work, is possibly linked to the artist?s faith. Montpelier, his native city, was a bastion of Protestant faith in the south of France and was taken by royal troops during the renewed persecution of Huguenots; many inhabitants left the city. Surely Bourdon saw in the history of Jacob an analogy with his own situation and the situation of his co-religionists. The decision to foreswear strange gods and erect an altar to "God, Who heard me on my day of need" must have suited the mood of Protestants, who stubbornly preserved their faith amidst the Catholic majority. A distinguishing feature of Bourdon as a painter was his amazing eclecticism. In the painting we still feel the influence of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, but at the same time the artist displays a noticeable urge to follow the principles of Classicism in constructing the composition. The action is concentrated in the foreground, and the space is limited by a coulisse in the form of a tree and Egyptian pyramid. In the context of the generally agitated movement of the figures, the expression of emotions is restrained. The magnificent colouring of the ensemble, painted in cool tints, and the emphatic elegance in the treatment of the figures corresponded perfectly to the wishes of art lovers in the age of Cardinal Mazarin.

Title:

Jacob Burying Laban's Images

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

100x140 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1922; transferred from the Academy of Fine Arts

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-3682

Category:

Collection: