February 5, 05:20 PM GMT
15,000 - 20,000 USD
Antwerp 1581 - 1641
ESTHER IN THE WOMEN'S HOUSE OF AHASUERUS
inscribed center left below the sculpture: Diana
oil on panel, unframed
panel: 19¾ by 29½ in.; 50.2 by 74.9 cm.
Private collection, New York, from 2000 until 2017.
This subject was depicted by Wolffort several times, which attests to its popularity. The scene derives from the Book of Esther in the Old Testament, which tells the story of how an orphaned Jewish woman is selected by King Ahasuerus of Persia to become his queen. In this painting, Esther is the standing figure at center, drying her body with a white cloth. She is surrounded by seven maids, which King Ahasuerus assigned to her after she was summoned to his harem. They were called to help prepare Esther before she met the king. Other interesting elements in this work are the statues in niches, which starting from left to right, depict Diana, Venus with Cupid and Saturn devouring his children. The painting at upper center is said to depict the Judgement of Paris.
We are grateful to Dr. Hans Vlieghe for endorsing the attribution to Artus Wolffort on the basis of images.