Northern European School
The Idolatry of Solomon
Oil on canvas
47 x 67 inches (119.5 x 170 cm)
Private collection, New York
According to 1 Kings 11, in old age King Solomon was persuaded by his many foreign wives to worship the various gods of their countries, particularly Ashtoreth (shown here as Venus), patron goddess of Sidon. This subject enjoyed great popularity in the 17th century in Protestant Europe as a metaphor for the "idolatry" of Catholic religious imagery. In the 18th century, its appeal was owed more to its fascinating exoticism.
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