National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1934
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
The subject of this painting is taken from the Old Testament (Book of Esther). Esther, wife of Ahasuerus, King of Babylon, learned of a plot to slaughter the entire Jewish population in the kingdom. The plan was instigated by Haman; a high-ranking courtier and adviser to the king. Esther bravely petitioned her husband to spare the Jews, at the same time revealing her own, hitherto secret, Jewish identity. Arent de Gelder’s painting shows the moment in which Esther unmasks Haman as the true enemy and Ahasuerus dramatically draws his dagger, foreshadowing the later execution of Haman.
Reproduction, 2017, based on a Dutch scotia frame from c.1685.
This project was generously supported by NGV Foundation Member Carol Sisson.
When the de Gelder was acquired in 1934 it was framed in an eighteenth century style French Louis XV frame. This frame was fabricated in composition on a wooden chassis, gilded and toned.
The painting was cleaned and restored in 2017 and fitted-up in its new frame in 2018. This reproduction ebony scotia frame was made in London. This style of frame was widely employed in the Netherlands in the 17th century.