Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Paintings about the Story of Esther

The titles, artists, years, and links for the three paintings above are...

The Triumph of Mordecai by Pieter Pietersz Lastman, 1624

The Banquet of Esther and Ahasueras by Jan Victors 1670

The Death of Haman, unknown artist, 1372

The three paintings shown here are from the Biblical story of Esther. They are part of a literature assignment for the 7th-8th Grade English class in the school week of September 14-18, 2009. There are three more paintings that I can't copy into this blog post. Right click on the links and open new windows to see the pictures. Then write a sentence for each of the five paintings telling some details that you notice.

Ahasueras Sends Vashti Away by Marc Chagall, 1960 and Esther by Marc Chagall, 1960 Note: Marc Chagall was a Russian born Jew who settled in France. During the 1940's, an American diplomat named Harry Bingham persuaded Chagall to flee France, giving him an unauthorized visa, as he did for hundreds of others. So Chagall could certainly relate to the story of Esther rescuiing the Jews. Chagall wrote: "Ever since my earliest youth I have been fascinated by the Bible. I have always believed that it is the greatest source of poetry of all time...The Bible is an echo of nature, and this I have endeavoured to transmit.... In art everything is possible, so long as it is based on love." You can read more here: Bingham's List: Saving the Jews of Nazi France.

Haman Begging Esther for Mercy by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655

P.S. Note the similarities between the Jan Victors painting above and the Jan Lievens painting below, which is from 1625. Jan Lievens painted at about the same time as Rembrandt (whose painting "Haman Begging Esther for Mercy" is linked above) -- and this painting by Lievens was thought to have been painted by Rembrandt until this past century. I found it an article about it in the Smithsonian Magazine March 2009 issue, which you can read on-line here: Out of Rembrandt's Shadow by Matthew Gurewitsch.

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