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Alessandro Salucci, Esther Brought to the Palace of Ahasuerus
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
first quarter of 17th century
Material and technique
oil on canvas
120 x 169 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
The painting was conceived as a pair with Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and depicts the end of the story of Esther narrated in the Old Testament Book of Esther. The Jewish people were persecuted under an edict issued by Haman, the wicked counsellor of the Persian king Ahasuerus. Mordecai, an official in the royal court and Esther’s uncle, decided to ask his beautiful niece, who had recently been chosen as the king’s wife, to help obtain the repeal of the murderous law. The painting depicts the young woman, accompanied by some of her handmaidens,  about to enter the palace of her husband. The scene takes place on the quayside of a port, visible on the right, while on the left the painter has placed a large porticoed building alluding to the residence of the Persian king.
Alessandro Salucci became well-known among his contemporaries for his elaborate architectural perspectives, the quality of which is evident in this painting. The cold low light creates a strong chiaroscuro effect on the buildings on the left. The figures in the foreground were probably not painted by Salucci, who usually entrusted this task to a colleague, as he occasionally did with  Jan Miel and Michelangelo Cerquozzi.
Esther Brought to the Palace of Ahasuerus
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