Arent de Gelder 1645 – 1727

Ahasuerus and Haman

oil on canvas (138 × 117 cm) — c. 1682 Museum Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham (UK)

Arent de Gelder biography

This work is linked to Esther 3:9

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Tags: Esther

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Haman talks to the Persian king Ahasuerus. He tries to get permission to extinguish a people withing the empire that he calls treacherous. The concentrated king listens, with his scepter in his hand. Eventually Haman convinces the king, so that he could set out to kill all Jews in Persia.

Most depictions of the scene show how Ahasuerus gives his ring to Haman as a sign of approval. That is why the subject of this De Gelder painting is not 100% certain.

Ahasuerus shows much resemblance to De Gelder's King David. Some art historians think that this painting may actually be David and a priest or prophet, because of the high hat that was typical for clerics.

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