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Title Esther before King Ahasuerus
Collection Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
Artist Attributed to Matteis, Paolo de` (Italian painter, 1662-1728)
Previously attributed to Giordano, Luca (Italian painter, 1634-1705, active in Italy and Spain)
Previously attributed to Zucchi, Andrea (Italian painter, scenographer and printmaker, 1679-1740)
Date Earliest possibly about 1685
Date Latest possibly about 1730
Description The subject of this painting is taken from the book of Esther. Esther, unbeknown to her husband Ahasuerus, King of Persia, was a jew. Esther had been raised as a daughter by her cousin Mordecai, who was hated by the King's advisor, Haman. Haman persuaded the King to exterminate the jews, and Esther, terrified because anyone who approached the King without being summoned was liable to be put to death, fasted for three days before presenting herself to him to try to persuade him to save her people. She succeeded, and Haman was hanged on gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.
Current Accession Number TWCMS:B9985
Former Accession Number SAG 336
Subject religion (Esther; King Ahasuerus); figure
Measurements 89.4 x 138.2 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by J. A. D. Shipley, 1909.
Publications Catalogue of the Shipley Collection, 1917, no. 336 without attribution; Catalogue of the Shipley Collection, 1921, no. 336 without attribution; Catalogue of the Shipley Collection, 1951, no. 336 attributed to Luca Giordano.
Notes Previously attributed to Luca Giordano, in the 1951 Shipley catalogue, and to Zucchi, by Christie's in 1974, other names have also been suggested in the past. In a letter of 1966, Nevin Drinkwater, then curator of the Shipley, suggested Balestra, though both Peter Murray and Michael Levey agreed with an attribution to Luca Giordano. In 2002, Xavier Bray, of the National Gallery, London however, attributed the work to Paolo dei Matteis. Paolo dei Matteis first trained in Luca Giordano's workshop in Naples. Before 1683 he began his career in Rome, though when the ambassador, having previously discovered the artist, moved to Naples, dei Matteis followed him there. Influenced by Carlo Maratta, de Matteis developed a delicate manner, that within ten years had become internationally popular. From 1702-1705 he worked for the French court in Paris, though returned to Naples.
Rights Owner The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead (Tyne and Wear Museums)
Author Elizabeth van der Beugel



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