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Solomon and the Louvre

Son of King David in the line of Judah; king of Israel in 1037 to 998 BC. King Solomon is known for his legendary wisdom. Many episodes of his life fueled the imagination of artists from all periods. The most represented are those concerning the episode with prostitutes and the visit of the Queen of Sheba. Courses in the halls of the Louvre and in the texts.
 Solomon Treasure
inv 1297
Frans Francken II said
Francken the Younger, 1633
Richelieu 2nd Flanders
Room 16

The identification of the
subject proposed here is
likely not absolutely
some Solomon
installed in the Temple
the treasures already
consecrated to God
David his father
After reporting the death of David's son born from his illicit relationship with Bathsheba, the Bible account adds: "Then David comforted his wife Bath-she′ba. He went in to her and lay down with her. In time she bore a son, and he was named Sol′o·mon. And Jhvh loved him, and he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jed·i·di′ah, for the sake of Jhvh. "(2S 12:24, 25). The name of Yedidia ('Beloved of Yah') seems to have been given to tell David that now God blessed her marriage to Bathsheba. It is not, however, under this name that the child was usually known. The name of Solomon (from a root meaning "peace") was working undoubtedly related to the covenant made ​​with his father David.

 The Judgment of Solomon inv 8246

Valentin de Boulogne,
THE VALENTINE said, Towards 1625
Richelieu 2nd Room 11

Before recognizing the mother
a child that two women
fought, King Solomon
ordered to cut it in half and
to give half to each.

Solomon and lives in one that
gave up the real mother. 

Rather than wealth, glory and victory, Solomon asked a wise heart, intelligent and obedient, to be able to judge Israel. The humble petition of Solomon as pleased God that gave him not only what he requested but also riches and glory, "so says JHVH, that there is none like you among the kings, in all thy days. " However, he added this exhortation: "And if you walk in my ways by keeping my regulations and my commandments, just as David your father walked, I will also give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3: 4-14). Soon after, when two prostitutes gave him a thorny problem of parental identity, Solomon showed that God had actually endowed with wisdom in judicial matters. This significantly sat Solomon's authority in the eyes of the people.

The judgment of Solomon

 The judgment of Solomon
inv 7277

Nicolas Poussin, 1649
Richelieu 2nd Room 14

By representing this biblical episode, Poussin illustrated
the theme of the wise faces
human passions, conflict
rendered by the rigor and
the symmetry of the
composition,  the attitudes
of different characters
and juxtaposition colors.


" At that time two prostitutes came in to the king and stood before him.  The first woman said: “Please, my lord, this woman and I live in one house, and I gave birth while she was in the house. On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together, just the two of us; there was no one else with us in the house. During the night this woman’s son died, because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while your slave girl was asleep and laid him in her arms, and she laid her dead son in my arms. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead. So I examined him closely in the morning and saw that it was not my son whom I had given birth to.” But the other woman said: “No, my son is the living one, and your son is the dead one!” But the first woman was saying: “No, your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.” That is how they argued before the king. " - 1 Kings 3: 16-22 

The judgment of Solomon

OA 971

second half of the sixteenth century
Enamel painted on copper

 Richelieu  Room 1 15 lives

“ Finally the king said: “This one says, ‘This is my son, the living one, and your son is the dead one!’ and that one says, ‘No, your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one!’” The king said: “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword to the king. The king then said: “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.” At once the woman whose son was the living one pleaded with the king, for her compassions were stirred toward her son. She said: “Please, my lord! You should give her the living child! By no means put him to death!” But the other woman was saying: “He will be neither mine nor yours! Let them cut him in two!” At that the king answered: “Give the living child to the first woman! By no means put him to death, for she is his mother.” So all Israel heard about the judgment that the king had handed down, and they were in awe of the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was with him to execute justice” -  1 Kings 3: 23-28

Assiette : Le Jugement de Salomon   MRR 131
Seconde moitié du XVIe siècle
Urbino, Faïence
Richelieu 1er salle 19 vit 8
Plat : Le Jugement de Salomon MR 2417
Pierre REYMOND, Vers 1575
Limoges, Émail peint sur cuivre
Richelieu 1er salle 20 vit 3

The judgment of Solomon

RF 4029

Giovanni Maria MOSCA


Active Padua, Venice
in Poland 1507-1573
Denon Ground floor room 4

Probably executed
for the philosopher Giambattista
Leone, of Padua,
who offered
Cardinal Reginald Pole

Among the most illustrious visitors from a foreign country to see the wealth of Solomon there was the Queen of Sheba. The fame of Solomon having spread among "all people of the earth," she made the trip from his distant kingdom "to prove him with hard questions." She told him "whatever he had at heart" and "there was no case that was hidden from the king that he could not explain." (1 Kings 10: 1-3, 24; 2 Chronicles 9: 1, 2) In addition, when the queen saw the splendor of the temple and the house of Solomon, "there was no more spirit in her" and she exclaimed: "But I did not put faith in the reports until I had come and had seen it with my own eyes. And look! I had not been told the half. You have far surpassed in wisdom and prosperity the report that I heard " She made a wonderful gift to Solomon 120 talents of gold and many precious stones and balsam oil in extraordinary quantities. Solomon, in turn, gave the queen what she asked. - 1 Kings 10:10, 13; 2 Chronicles 9: 9, 12

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

 Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, also said Esther before Ahasuerus RF 3737 Claude Vignon Tours, 1593 - Paris, 1670
Not Visible
Two biblical episodes may have inspired this table:
it could be the interview of King Solomon and the Queen
Saba reported in the First Book of Kings or that,
contained in the Book of Esther, in which,
Esther, Jewish girl married by the Persian king Ahasuerus,
implored his clemency in favor of the Jews. 
 Solomon and the Queen of Sheba RF 1992-412  Nicolas Vleughels Sully 2nd room 37

This precious table cabinet, painted on copper, would be the one
Louis XV commissioned in 1728 to Vleughels, director
the Académie de France in Rome. The sumptuousness of the decor
luxury accessories, recreating a fancy East
show the influence of the Venetians. Some figures
are borrowed from Veronese or Correggio.

" Now the queen of She′ba heard the report about Sol′o·mon in connection with the name of Jhvh, so she came to test him with perplexing questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very impressive entourage, with camels carrying balsam oil and great quantities of gold and precious stones. She went in to Sol′o·mon and spoke to him about everything that was close to her heart. Sol′o·mon then answered all her questions. There was nothing too difficult for the king to explain to her. When the queen of She′ba had seen all the wisdom of Sol′o·mon, the house that he built, the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the table service of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, and his burnt sacrifices that he regularly offered up at the house of Jehovah, she was left completely breathless. So she said to the king: “The report that I heard in my own land about your achievements and about your wisdom was true. But I did not put faith in the reports until I had come and had seen it with my own eyes. And look! I had not been told the half. You have far surpassed in wisdom and prosperity the report that I heard. Happy are your men, and happy are your servants who stand before you constantly, listening to your wisdom! May Jhvh your God be praised, who has taken pleasure in you by putting you on the throne of Israel. Because of Jhvh’s everlasting love for Israel, he appointed you as king to administer justice and righteousness. ” - 1 Kings 10: 1-9

 Solomon sacrificing to idols inv 2800
Sébastien Bourdon Montpellier, 1616 - Paris, 1671

Not visible in 7.22.13. This table was once a top-of-door in the great hall of Louis Phelypeaux of Vrilliere in Toulouse hotel,
the current Bank of France


“ But King Sol′o·mon loved many foreign women besides the daughter of Phar′aoh: Mo′ab·ite, Am′mon·ite, E′dom·ite, Si·do′ni·an, and Hit′tite women. They were from the nations about whom Jehovah had said to the Israelites: “You must not go in among them, and they should not come in among you, for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods.” But Sol′o·mon clung to them and loved them. And he had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and his wives gradually inclined his heart. In Sol′o·mon’s old age, his wives inclined his heart to follow other gods, and his heart was not complete with Jhvh his God like the heart of David his father. And Sol′o·mon followed after Ash′to·reth, the goddess of the Si·do′ni·ans, and Mil′com, the disgusting god of the Am′mon·ites. And Sol′o·mon did what was bad in the eyes of Jhvh, and he did not follow Jhvh completely as David his father had done. It was then that Sol′o·mon built a high place to Che′mosh, the disgusting god of Mo′ab, on the mountain in front of Jerusalem and to Mo′lech, the disgusting god of the Am′mon·ites. That was what he did for all his foreign wives who were making sacrificial smoke and sacrificing to their gods. ” - 1 Kings 11: 1-8.

Although it would be "in time Solomon was old," one should not infer that deviated because it was becoming senile because he was relatively young when he ascended the throne and the length of his reign was 40 years (1 Chronicles 29: 1; 2 Chronicles 9:30). The story does not say that Solomon completely ceased to worship at the temple and to offer sacrifices. He apparently tried to practice a kind of syncretism to please his foreign wives.


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