Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 32 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 24 items Explore
  • 47 items
  • 92 items
  • 3,513 items Explore
  • 89 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 41 items
  • 9,885 items Explore
  • 208 items Explore
  • 1,211 items Explore
  • 7,415 items Explore
  • 4,945 items Explore
  • 75 items Explore
  • 101 items Explore
  • 9,295 items Explore
  • 13,023 items Explore
  • 2,386 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 121 items Explore
  • 2,035 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,667 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 440 items Explore
  • 18,098 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,925 items Explore
  • 959 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 4,906 items Explore
  • 406 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 923 items Explore
  • 1 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 9 items
  • 15,599 items Explore
  • 787 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 70 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 798 items
  • 20 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 303 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 55 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 134 items
  • 2 items
  • 107 items Explore
  • 116 items
  • 898 items Explore
  • 834 items
  • 91 items
  • 27 items
  • 7 items
  • 23,181 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,379 items Explore
  • 1,496 items Explore
  • 352 items
  • 192 items Explore
  • 7,630 items Explore
  • 8,896 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,736 items Explore
  • 5,363 items Explore
  • 4,026 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 857 items Explore
  • 859 items Explore
  • 2,491 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 312 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 2,672 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 309 items Explore
  • 727 items Explore
  • 784 items Explore
  • 476 items Explore
  • 1,037 items Explore
  • 986 items
  • 89 items
  • 125 items Explore
  • 5,175 items Explore
  • 163 items
  • 1 items
  • 311 items
  • 7 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 23 items
  • 58 items
  • 302 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,830 items Explore
  • 3,237 items Explore
  • 69 items
  • 43 items
  • 17,808 items Explore
  • 1,096 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 204 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 1 items
  • 145 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 23 items
  • 252 items
  • 311 items
  • 878 items Explore
  • 1,893 items
  • 529 items Explore
  • 1,665 items
  • 1,412 items
  • 6 items
  • 2 items
  • 2 items
  • 3,685 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 29,666 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,052 items Explore
  • 190 items Explore
  • 7,021 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 719 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 65 items
  • 157 items
  • 52 items
  • 19,069 items Explore
  • 824 items
  • 17 items
  • 2 items
  • 17,849 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 1,864 items Explore
  • 1,021 items Explore
  • 44 items
  • 371 items
  • 3,262 items Explore
  • 82 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 473 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 20 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 68 items
  • 289 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 47 items
  • 272 items
  • 333 items
  • 765 items
  • 717 items
  • 1 items
  • 342 items Explore
  • 459 items Explore
  • 10,351 items Explore
  • 695 items Explore
  • 5,847 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 4,927 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 5,124 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,296 items Explore
  • 9,171 items Explore
  • 6,443 items Explore
  • 181 items
  • 19 items
  • 141 items
  • 7 items
  • 987 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 3,562 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 1,022 items Explore
  • 195 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,486 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 698 items Explore
  • 35 items
  • 114 items
  • 3,184 items Explore
  • 12,224 items Explore
  • 2,705 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7,747 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 1 items
  • 21,325 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 38 items
  • 13,520 items Explore
  • 3,289 items Explore
  • 1,755 items Explore
  • 162 items
  • 27,965 items Explore
  • 634 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 21,072 items Explore
  • 193 items
  • 1 items
  • 17 items
  • 30 items
  • 47 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 215 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 14,768 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 15,263 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 13 items
  • 25 items
  • 2,812 items Explore
  • 853 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 191 items
  • 591 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 2,023 items Explore
  • 874 items Explore
  • 14 items
  • 1,783 items Explore
  • 135 items
  • 46 items
  • 634 items Explore
  • 2,868 items Explore
  • 68 items
  • 22 items
  • 12 items
  • 7,477 items Explore
  • 18,272 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,194 items
  • 140 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 77 items
  • 9,780 items Explore
  • 3,484 items Explore
  • 2,618 items Explore
  • 4,676 items Explore
  • 23 items
  • 56 items
  • 5,834 items Explore
  • 4,024 items Explore
  • 461 items Explore
  • 2,255 items Explore
  • 1,760 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,273 items Explore
  • 41 items
  • 216 items Explore
  • 366 items Explore
  • 5,768 items Explore
  • 8,882 items Explore
  • 1,828 items Explore
  • 2,142 items Explore
  • 3,297 items Explore
  • 8,392 items Explore
  • 72 items
  • 2,485 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,696 items Explore
  • 614 items Explore
  • 61 items
  • 16 items
  • 137 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 466 items
  • 934 items
  • 3,562 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 8,237 items Explore
  • 45 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 44 items
  • 3 items
  • 12,895 items Explore
  • 1,233 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 4,817 items Explore
  • 779 items Explore
  • 1,975 items
  • 4,956 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,335 items Explore
  • 1,340 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,546 items Explore
  • 15,865 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,681 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 26 items
  • 5,409 items Explore
  • 7,525 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 11 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 6,571 items Explore
  • 249 items Explore
  • 11 items
  • 4 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 104 items Explore
  • 423 items
  • 147 items Explore
  • 7,278 items Explore
  • 45 items
  • 21,588 items Explore
  • 6,599 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 5 items
  • 543 items Explore
  • 325 items
  • 161 items Explore
  • 10,842 items Explore
  • 54 items
  • 16 items
  • 67 items
  • 4 items
  • 314 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 172 items
  • 3,306 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,215 items Explore
  • 1,852 items Explore
  • 567 items Explore
  • 20 items
  • 1,064 items Explore
  • 96 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 253 items Explore
  • 56,665 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2,626 items Explore
  • 2,638 items Explore
  • 149 items
  • 3,136 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 12,220 items Explore
  • 5,341 items
  • 7 items
  • 658 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 468 items
  • 40 items
  • 72 items
  • 29 items
  • 414 items
  • 3 items
  • 42 items
  • 1,059 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 715 items
  • 46 items
  • 8,362 items Explore
  • 9 items
  • 947 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 14,177 items Explore
  • 93 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 302 items
  • 2 items
  • 545 items Explore
  • 1,681 items Explore
  • 848 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2 items
  • 1 items
  • 154 items

Select a time period

Or choose a specific year

Clear all filters

The Judgement of Solomon

Sebastiano del Piombo (Venice c.1485 - Rome 1547)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1505 - 1510

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1753 x 2896 mm (69 x 114 in)

Place of origin

Venice

Order this image

Collection

Kingston Lacy Estate, Dorset (Accredited Museum)

On show at

National Gallery, London, External Locations

NT 1257074

Caption

A semi-naked swarthy executioner strides in, with his arm raised, ready to divide a living baby (not visible as not yet painted) into two. Solomon sits on his throne, accompanied by a priest, a man in armour, and possibly his sons, Reheboam and Prince Azariah, about to settle the dispute between two prostitutes over whose baby had not died. The real and good mother reveals herself by giving up her claim in order that the baby lives whilst the other points accusingly. This biblical story of justice is told in the Book of Kings. Because of the subject it was suggested it may originally have been commissioned for one of the courtrooms in the Doge's Palace in Venice by Andrea Loredan. It was first recorded as being seen and unfinished in 1648. Restoration of this masterpiece of the High Renaissance reveals three different conceptions of figures and setting overlaying one another that were never resolved. It was attributed to Sebastiano del Piombo’s Venetian contemporary, Giorgione, when the poet Lord Byron encouraged William Bankes (1786–1855) to buy it in 1820 from the Marescalchi collection in Bologna.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, The Judgement of Solomon by Sebastiano del Piombo (Venice c.1485 - Rome 1547), 1505-10. According to the biblical story (I Kings, iii:16-28), two harlots who had babies were disputing whose was the one who had not died. Solomon showed his wisdom by threatening to have his executioner divide the baby equally between them. The real mother immediately revealed herself by offering to give up her claim in favour of the false mother, in order to save her own baby's life. Solomon, in a grey robe and light blue mantle, sits on a stepped throne in a basilica with a red and white marble floor shown in sharply receding perspective and white Corinthian columns. The throne is adorned, curiously, with rams’ heads rather than with the usual lion's, suggesting a close reading of the Bible, since the episode of ‘Solomon’s judgement between the two harlots’ occurs well before the description of his new throne (I Kings x.18–20). A red cloth of state hangs behind him. He is flanked by an old, priest-like figure dressed in blue with a red mantle on his left (our right) and a boy and a handsome youth dressed in white with an orange toga. possibly Solomon’s son, Reheboam or is the priest-likefigure Zadok, and this his son, one of Solomon’s ‘princes’, Azariah on his right (our left)? Beside the old priest stands the good and real mother, dressed in a light blue tunic and white dress, with a green mantle, making gestures of love for, and renunciation of, her child. Between her and the still-naked form of the executioner, with upraised arm, stands a young man in orange jerkin and blue hose, indicating the – undepicted – live baby. A watercolour copy by Charles Cope (1811- 1890) also at Kingston Lacy shows the baby not yet painted which means that the baby painted in before the Hamilton Kerr 1982 restoration was a 20th century addition. On the other side of the throne stands the bad and false mother, in a dark green dress over a white shift, pleading with Solomon, and pointing an accusatory finger at the good mother. Behind her stands a smaller figure in very similar dress and pose (possibly representing a first version of the bad mother, before the scale of the figures was changed), and behind her, a Giorgionesque figure in armour. This is a flawed masterpiece of the Venetian High Renaissance, painted around 1505-10, and was neither finished nor resolved. Many of the pentimenti are in the architecture; they are so drastic that one is bound to ask whether they were not made in a brief return to Venice in 1511 or1512, after exposure to Bramante’s buildings in Rome. Recent restoration has revealed three different conceptions of figures and settings overlaying one another. It has been suggested in the past that because of the judicial subject it may have originally been commissioned for one of the courtrooms in the Doge's Palace in Venice by Andrea Loredan (1440 – 1513). He was responsible for the building of the Palazzo di San Marcuola, subsequently known as the Casa Grimani de Santo Ermacora (now the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi), where it seems first to have ended up, recorded by Ridolfi in 1648. Compellingly the second storey (piano nobile) has tabernacle windows, of around 1498 - 1511, similar to the framed niches in the painting. Ridolfi attributed the picture to Giorgione, and this was bought as such by William Bankes in 1820 from the Marescalchi collection in Bologna, with his close friend and poet Lord Byron's warm encouragement, In 1903 the acclaimed art historian of Italian Renaissance pictures, Bernard Berenson, attributed it to Sebastiano, which is now generally accepted. The very different Flight into Egypt of 1506/7, thought to be one of Titian's earliest works and now in the State Hemitage Museum, St Petersburg, may have been painted for the same room, as Giorgio Vasari mentions it being in the palazzo of Andrea Loredan (a descendant of the aforementioned) in 1568.

Provenance

Possibly commissioned for the grand reception hall ('portegho') of Andrea Loredan's new palace, Palazzo di San Marcuola, designed by Mauro Codussi (1440 - 1504) and completed in 1509, and possibly hung along with Titian's Flight into Egypt (State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg); first recorded by Ridolfi in the palace -originally built for Andrea Loredan (1450 - 1513) and now known as Ca’ Vendramin-Calergi- in 1648; acquired by William John Bankes (1786-1855) in 1820, from the Marescalchi collection in Bologna, as by Giorgione; bequeathed by Ralph Bankes, 1981.

Credit line

Kingston Lacy, The Bankes Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Sebastiano del Piombo (Venice c.1485 - Rome 1547), artist previously catalogued as by Giorgione (Castelfranco c.1477 – Venice 1510), artist

Exhibition history

Michelangelo | Sebastiano. A Meeting of Minds, National Gallery, London, 2017, no.cat. 6

References

Ridolfi 1648 C.Ridolfi, Le Maraviglie dell’Arte, Venice, 1648; commented edition by Detler von Hadeln, 2 vols. Berlin, 1914, 1924 , vol I., p.102 Waagen 1857 Gustav Waagen Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, (supplementary to Waagen a 1854), 1857, p.377-8 Berenson 1903: Bernhard Berenson, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters, London, 1903, vol.I, p.233 Berenson 1938: Bernhard Berenson, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters, amplified edition, Chicago 1938, vol.I, p.240 Hirst 1981 Michael Hirst, Sebastiano del Piombo, Oxford, 1981, pp.13-23 Laing and Hirst 1986 Keith Laing and Michael Hirst, “The Kingston Lacy Judgement of Solomon.” The Burlington Magazine, vol. 128.997 1986, pp.273-86 Harpur 2013 Alison Harpur, 'Authorship, Authority and The Kingston Lacy Judgment of Solomon' in National Trust Historic Houses & Collections Annual (Apollo), 2013, pp. 46 - 54 Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting, The National Gallery, London, 30th April - 21st September 2014 Lillie 2014 Amanda Lillie, 'Constructing the Picture' published online (ed. Caroline Bugler) in 'Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting', The National Gallery, London, 2014 Michelangelo & Sebastiano (Ed. Matthias Wivel), for the exhibition at the National gallery, London, from 15th March to 25th June 2017., cat. 6, pp. 100-101

View more details