Esther c1885 by French Painter Hugues Merle (1823 – 1881); who specialized in scenes of maternal affection, childhood innocence and moral consequence.
This religious portrait is based on the Biblical tale from the book of Esther; in which a beautiful young Jewish woman becomes Queen to the Persian King Ahasuerus, after he banishes his queen Vashti; and later is able to avert the slaughter of her people throughout the Persian Empire.
The painting shows Esther in beautiful attire of fine silks and adorned jewels, precious stones and gold as she holds onto a decorative light green drape with her left hand; while in the background we see the king seated on his throne, finely dressed and adorned with jewels on his crown and chest plate, with a guard holding a spear to his right.
Esther is wearing a gold band around her long black hair, that is partially covered by a sheer white silk scarf that loops across the lower portion of her neck and around her back.
Esther’s dress which is composed of three different materials, starts with a red top portion that in embellished gold squares that have pearls at each corner and emeralds at the center of each square surrounded by another gold square rotated 90 degrees, creating and eye like appearance.
Then around her waist is a gold like sash that is overlaid with a bright green geometric design; and this transitions to the green full length portion of the dress.
She is then covered in a light gold tone wrap that has dark gold tone tassels along the edges, with a wide dark band that is sectioned into squares that have alternate clusters of four pearls, round rubies and emeralds.
Around her neck is a large loop necklace, a ruby necklace from which a gold and ruby amulet hands along with blue opal connected to silver wing like elements.
Around her upper arms of the short sleeve dress she is wearing are wide band arm bracelets made of gold with alternating squares of rubies and diamonds, that match the triangular square earrings she wearing comprised of gold, emeralds, rubies, diamonds and pearls.
On her wrist she is wearing gold bracelets that are embellished with rubies and emeralds, pearl bracelets and a single ruby bracelet on her left wrist; while most of her fingers are adorned with gold rings that have precious stones embedded in them.
This is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.
The Below Information Is Derived From Wikipedia.org and Rehs.com
Hugues Merle was born in 1822 or 1823 in La Sône, France and around the age of 21 arrived in Paris, France where he studied painting under the French Historical and Portrait Painter Léon Cogniet (1794 – 1880).
Though little is known of Hugues early life it is assumed that he received some degree of art education before he arrived in Paris in 1843; because he began exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1847 with his piece Portrait de L’auteur and in 1848 he exhibited the piece Légende des Willis.
As time went on Hugues reputation as a portraitist grew substantially during the 1850s; and as a successful and prominent painter he was able to attract serious art lovers that were looking to build their art collections.
One of these early collectors of art was the 4th Marquess of Hertford, Richard Seymour-Conway (1800-1870); who purchased his salon submission Reading the Bible in 1859.
During the 1860s, Hugues client list of collectors included not only individuals from the European continent, but also American collectors, such as William Walters of Baltimore who commissioned The Scarlet Letter.