Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 32 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 25 items Explore
  • 47 items
  • 92 items
  • 3,444 items Explore
  • 89 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4 items
  • 41 items
  • 9,898 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,211 items Explore
  • 7,426 items Explore
  • 4,914 items Explore
  • 71 items Explore
  • 122 items Explore
  • 9,431 items Explore
  • 13,011 items Explore
  • 4,336 items Explore
  • 41 items
  • 5 items
  • 127 items Explore
  • 2,035 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,684 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 440 items Explore
  • 18,124 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,810 items Explore
  • 960 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 5,017 items Explore
  • 408 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 923 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 9 items
  • 16,687 items Explore
  • 787 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 798 items
  • 25 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 303 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 134 items
  • 2 items
  • 109 items Explore
  • 116 items
  • 896 items Explore
  • 834 items
  • 91 items
  • 27 items
  • 7 items
  • 23,868 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,310 items Explore
  • 1,505 items Explore
  • 352 items
  • 190 items Explore
  • 7,655 items Explore
  • 8,917 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,732 items Explore
  • 5,411 items Explore
  • 4,030 items Explore
  • 924 items Explore
  • 868 items Explore
  • 3,086 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 312 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,141 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 313 items Explore
  • 726 items Explore
  • 845 items Explore
  • 476 items Explore
  • 1,088 items Explore
  • 1,004 items
  • 89 items
  • 124 items Explore
  • 5,180 items Explore
  • 163 items
  • 311 items
  • 7 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 24 items
  • 58 items
  • 302 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,833 items Explore
  • 1,311 items Explore
  • 69 items
  • 43 items
  • 18,349 items Explore
  • 1,099 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 962 items Explore
  • 28 items
  • 1 items
  • 145 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 23 items
  • 252 items
  • 311 items
  • 824 items Explore
  • 1,893 items
  • 275 items Explore
  • 2,257 items
  • 1,969 items
  • 6 items
  • 2 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,684 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 29,678 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,063 items Explore
  • 192 items Explore
  • 7,407 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 723 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 156 items
  • 52 items
  • 20,046 items Explore
  • 825 items
  • 17 items
  • 2 items
  • 18,921 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 1,883 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,021 items Explore
  • 57 items
  • 419 items
  • 3,280 items Explore
  • 82 items
  • 443 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 20 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 68 items
  • 289 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 114 items
  • 272 items
  • 764 items
  • 717 items
  • 1 items
  • 341 items Explore
  • 459 items Explore
  • 10,349 items Explore
  • 698 items Explore
  • 5,852 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 4,976 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1 items
  • 5,249 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,306 items Explore
  • 9,171 items Explore
  • 6,581 items Explore
  • 183 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 981 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 3,919 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 1,022 items Explore
  • 192 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,485 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 20 items
  • 695 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 115 items
  • 3,197 items Explore
  • 12,475 items Explore
  • 2,731 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 7,980 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 1 items
  • 21,326 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 38 items
  • 13,103 items Explore
  • 3,293 items Explore
  • 1,942 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 162 items
  • 33,902 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 634 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 21,267 items Explore
  • 195 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 16 items
  • 29 items
  • 64 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 216 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 13,561 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 15,263 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 13 items
  • 25 items
  • 3,259 items Explore
  • 858 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 195 items
  • 872 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 42 items
  • 2,058 items Explore
  • 878 items Explore
  • 14 items
  • 1,802 items Explore
  • 135 items
  • 73 items
  • 699 items Explore
  • 2,852 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 22 items
  • 12 items
  • 9,451 items Explore
  • 20,196 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,187 items
  • 170 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 80 items
  • 1 items
  • 4 items
  • 9,986 items Explore
  • 3,527 items Explore
  • 2,617 items Explore
  • 4,669 items Explore
  • 23 items
  • 57 items
  • 6,344 items Explore
  • 4,027 items Explore
  • 460 items Explore
  • 2,255 items Explore
  • 1,866 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,280 items Explore
  • 32 items
  • 216 items Explore
  • 353 items Explore
  • 5,368 items Explore
  • 8,912 items Explore
  • 1,828 items Explore
  • 2,765 items Explore
  • 3,302 items Explore
  • 8,811 items Explore
  • 72 items
  • 11 items
  • 2,510 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,864 items Explore
  • 615 items Explore
  • 62 items
  • 16 items
  • 143 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 458 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,000 items
  • 3,555 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 8,308 items Explore
  • 47 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 44 items
  • 3 items
  • 12,926 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,018 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 4,835 items Explore
  • 779 items Explore
  • 2,010 items
  • 5,097 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,334 items Explore
  • 1,338 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,545 items Explore
  • 16,094 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,681 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 41 items
  • 5,410 items Explore
  • 7,515 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 21 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 6,873 items Explore
  • 248 items Explore
  • 11 items
  • 4 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 104 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 423 items
  • 157 items Explore
  • 7,385 items Explore
  • 45 items
  • 21,436 items Explore
  • 6,522 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 2 items
  • 557 items Explore
  • 325 items
  • 2 items
  • 300 items Explore
  • 10,838 items Explore
  • 54 items
  • 16 items
  • 5 items
  • 4 items
  • 314 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 172 items
  • 3,305 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 27 items
  • 1,246 items Explore
  • 2,210 items Explore
  • 649 items Explore
  • 20 items
  • 1,068 items Explore
  • 96 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 253 items Explore
  • 57,440 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2,628 items Explore
  • 2,592 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 3,124 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 15,274 items Explore
  • 5,119 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 658 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 468 items
  • 39 items
  • 72 items
  • 29 items
  • 449 items
  • 3 items
  • 42 items
  • 1,067 items Explore
  • 91 items
  • 713 items
  • 46 items
  • 8,380 items Explore
  • 25 items
  • 949 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 52 items
  • 14,293 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 302 items
  • 2 items
  • 547 items Explore
  • 1,661 items Explore
  • 805 items Explore
  • 2 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

Kingston Lacy Estate, Dorset, South West, National Trust

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 or 1512, 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

The Genius of Venice 1500-1600, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1983 - 1984, no.97

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, 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