Flemish School of the 17th century - Circle of Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640)
The Judgement of King Solomon
Oil on copper (41 x 49 cm. - with ebonised and gilded wooden frame 58 x 66 cm.)
The proposed painting, executed in oil on copper, depicts the biblical episode known as the 'Judgement of King Solomon' and is taken from the Book of Kings, in the Old Testament (I Kings, 3, 16-28).
The work is derived from the painting in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen depicting the 'Judgement of Solomon', which was largely created by Rubens' workshop with some intervention by the master (Inv. No.
The iconography of the painting was certainly made popular by the print made by the Dutch engraver Boetius Adams Bolswert (Bolsward, c. 1585 - Antwerp, 1633) now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum .
The extraordinary critical and illustrative success of the work is certain, of which several replicas and copies exist, preserved in museums and private collections: Delft, Rouen and Coutrai, Liechtenstein in Vaduz and in Seville Cathedral.
The prototype for the original Copenhagen painting by Rubens, dated 1616 and now destroyed, was, according to historical sources, located in the courtroom of Brussels City Hall, which was destroyed by bombing in the late 17th century.
The canvas is the work of a Flemish painter, active in the 17th century, who certainly comes close to the manner of Rubens, but who departs from the master in a more impetuous style, with thick impasto brushstrokes, strong contrasts of light and shade and rather intense colouring. This manner is very reminiscent of the Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens, who was Rubens' assistant at the beginning of his career.
The subject of the painting sees the great King Solomon, known as one of the wisest politicians who ever lived, called into question by two prostitutes, to determine who among them held the right: living in the same house and having both given birth at the same time, the two women claimed maternity of the living infant, and accused each other of having given birth to the other, already dead.
King Solomon's wisdom and sense of justice led him to order, so as not to wrong either woman, that the live baby be divided in two, so that each of the women could have one half. This order provoked the reaction of one of his mothers, who refused the verdict, begging that rather the child be given alive and whole to the other, saving his life. Through this reaction, Solomon realised which of the two was the true mother.
 The Judgment of Solomon, Boetius Adams Bolswert, After Peter Paul Rubens Flemish, 1595-1633 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)
Delevery information :
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19 500 €