The Judgment of Solomon by Gustave Doré
The Judgment of Solomon by Gustave Doré

The Judgment of Solomon

The Judgment of Solomon (1Kings 3_16-28) c1866 by French Painter Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883); though he primarily worked as a wood engraver, he also was a printmaker, caricaturost, comics artist, illustrator and a sculptor.

The Judgment of Solomon is an engraving that depicts the Biblical tale of King Solomon and the two mothers each claiming to be and fighting over an infant son; with both claiming to be the mother of the baby.

In order to solve this dilemma the women and the baby are brought before King Solomon to each plead their case; and to resolve this life altering dispute, King Solomon orders his soldier to cut the baby in half, and give each women a half of the baby.

Upon hearing this the true mother of the child tells the King that the other women can have the child and please not kill; and then Solomon orders the soldier to give the baby to the woman that is willing to give up the child to save its life, as this is the true mother of the baby.

The Judgment of Solomon scene shows the throne room with the members of the court and others along its perimeter and King Solomon standing in front of his throne dealing out the justice of his wisdom.

There at the front of the throne is a soldier holding the baby up in his left hand, and a sword in his right; while the true mother of the child is on her knees begging for the child’s life and the other woman just stands there looking down at her

The Judgment of Solomon is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.

Info Below Derived From Wikipedia.org

Doré was born in Strasbourg, France and by the age of 5 was a child prodigy artist; creating drawings that were mature beyond his years. Then at the age of 12, he began carving in stone, and by 15, began his career working as a caricaturist for the French paper Le journal pour rire.

In the beginning wood engraving was his primary method of artistic expression during the late 1840s and early 1850s, making several text comics, like Les Travaux d’Hercule (1847), Trois artistes incompris et mécontents (1851), Les Dés-agréments d’un voyage d’agrément (1851) and L’Histoire de la Sainte Russie (1854).

Doré subsequently went on to win commissions to depict scenes from books by Cervantes, Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, and Dante. He also illustrated “Gargantua et Pantagruel” in 1854; when he was just 22 years old.

In 1853 Doré was asked to illustrate the works of Lord Byron; and this commission led to additional work for British publishers, including a new illustrated Bible, and three years later he would produced 12 folio-size illustrations of The Legend of The Wandering Jew, which propagated longstanding antisemitic views of the time, for a short poem which Pierre-Jean de Béranger had derived from a novel of Eugène Sue of 1845.

During the 1860s Doré illustrated a French edition of Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and his depictions of the knight and his squire, Sancho Panza, have become so famous that they have influenced subsequent readers, artists, and stage and film directors’ ideas of the physical “look” of the two characters.

He also illustrated an oversized edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, an endeavor that earned him 30,000 francs from the publisher Harper & Brothers in 1883.

His illustrations for the Bible (1866) were highly successful, and in 1867 Doré had a major exhibition of his work in London, that led to the foundation of the Doré Gallery in Bond Street, London. In 1869, Blanchard Jerrold, the son of Douglas William Jerrold, suggested that they work together to produce a comprehensive portrait of London.

Jerrold had obtained the idea from The Microcosm of London produced by Rudolph Ackermann, William Pyne, and Thomas Rowlandson (published in three volumes from 1808 to 1810). Doré signed a five-year contract with the publishers Grant & Co that involved his staying in London for three months a year, and he received the vast sum of £10,000 a year for the project.

Though Doré was mainly celebrated for his paintings during his time, and though they remain world-renowned even till this day, it is his woodcuts and engravings, like those he did for Jerrold, that demonstrated is exceptional artistic talent as an artist with an individual vision.

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