Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – 1640

The Judgement of Solomon

oil on canvas (234 × 303 cm) — c. 1617 Museum Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

Peter Paul Rubens biography

This work is linked to 1 Kings 3:25

Tags: Solomon

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Two women both have one child. When one of the children dies, his mother says the other child is actually her's.

The conflict is brought before king Solomon. The dead child is on the floor. The king orders a soldier to divide the living child in two, so that both women can have a half.

The woman to the left protests and tells the king to give the child to the other woman, so that it will live.

Rubens helps us to discern the real mother by his use of colour. She is dressed in yellow, similar in warmth to the king's robe. The other woman wears a dress in a very light colour, cold as the soldier's blue.

Most of the actual painting was probably done by members of Rubens' workshop.

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