Idolatry Of King Solomon – Attr. To Hieronymus Francken III (1611 – 1661) flag

Object description :

"Idolatry Of King Solomon – Attr. To Hieronymus Francken III (1611 – 1661)"
Oil on copper. Flanders, first half of the 17th century, attributed to Hieronymus Francken III.
Reunited with his court in a rich palatial setting closed by a heavy purple curtain, Solomon prostrates himself before the idols. On the right, a courtesan dressed in plum and green invites us to contemplate this sacrilegious scene. Indeed, Solomon violates the divine law transmitted by Moses to the Jewish people, of which he is the king, according to which man "shall not make an idol, nor any image whatever of what is in heaven above, or in down on the earth, or in the waters below the earth. He thus allowed himself to be corrupted by his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, some of whom are represented here, in the forefront of which the Queen of Sheba who encourages him directly. With a wave of her hand, she points to the object to be adored: a magnificent golden statue representing Jupiter, perched on a porphyry pedestal. The scepter and the crown abandoned in front of the altar show the king's abdication in the face of this new faith. In the foreground, a small brazier has probably just been used in the sacrificial ritual which consists for the vestals in pouring a mixture of flours called mola salsa on the fire. Perhaps this sacrifice took place in this temple that we see under construction in the background and whose roundness is reminiscent of the temple of Vesta which housed the sacred fire in Rome. Many northern artists give their interpretation of this subject which serves as an illustration of the quarrel over images between Catholics and Protestants. Frans Francken II painted The Idolatry of Solomon many times in a way that strongly resembles our painting, in particular in a version dated to the 1610s whose composition, details and figures are identical. Our painting is probably a contemporary version made by his son, Hieronymus Francken III, who worked in the Antwerp family workshop. Hieronymus deploys here all his talent to represent a crowd of cosmopolitan courtiers whose clothes recall those of the Ottomans who besieged Vienna at the beginning of the 16th century. In no way sacrificing the quality of execution to the quantity of the protagonists, he devotes particular care to the figures whose multiplicity brings life to the composition. Despite these many details, the whole remains legible thanks to the skilful division of the scene along an oblique axis to which the landscape in the background offers welcome breathing space.

We have chosen to present this painting to you in a reversed profile frame in blackened wood.
Dimensions: 54 x 71 cm – 68 x 85 cm with the frame.

Biography: Hieronymus Francken III (Antwerp, 1611 – id. after 1661) is the second son of the painter Frans Francken II who, alongside Jacob van der Lamen, taught him painting. He was made master of the guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp in 1645. If within the workshop the production of each of the sons of Frans Francken II can be difficult to distinguish, we know that Hieronymus specialized in paintings Biblical scenes like this Idolatry of Solomon.

- HARTING, Ursula, Frans Francken der Jüngere (1581-1642): die Gemälde mit kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, Freren, Luca, 1989.
- The Francken dynasty, dir. Sandrine Vézilier Dussart, (exp. cat., Cassel, Museum of Flanders, Sept. 4, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022), In Fine, 2020.
- REAU, Louis, Iconography of Christian Art, 3 vol. Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1959.
- SPETH-HOLTERHOFF, Simone, The Flemish Painters of Amateur Cabinets in the 17th Century, Brussels, Elsevier, 1957.
Price: 8 900 €
Period: 17th century
Style: Renaissance, Louis 13th
Condition: Excellent condition

Material: Oil painting on wood
Width: 85
Height: 68

Reference: 1130979
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Idolatry Of King Solomon – Attr. To Hieronymus Francken III (1611 – 1661)
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