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Pieter Aertsen: The Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace

Pieter Aertsen 1507/08 – 1575

The Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace

oil on panel (113 × 84 cm) — c. 1552 Museum Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Pieter Aertsen biography

This work is linked to Daniel 3:6

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Tags: Daniel

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During the Babylonian exile, the Jews are required to worship statues of their monarch, Nebuchadnezzar. Three men refuse. As a result they are thrown into a burning furnace, which they somehow manage to survive.

The episode is described in Daniel 3:6 and in the apocryphal Additions to Daniel: Prayer of Azaria and Song of the Three Holy Children in the Furnace.

Pieter Aertsen made this work when the Netherlands, like other parts of Europe, were in deep religious turmoil and emotions were running high against the worshipping and adoration of images and statues.

During the subsequent 1566 iconoclasm, vast numbers of paintings in churches were destroyed.

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