(b. 1732, Grasse, d. 1806, Paris)
Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol1752
Oil on canvas, 115 x 145 cm
École des Beaux-Arts, Paris
According to the Books of Kings, Jeroboam was the first king of the break-away ten tribes or Northern Kingdom of Israel, over whom he reigned twenty-two years.
Fragonard's painting depicts Jeroboam offering sacrifice for the idol of the Golden Calf. While he was engaged in offering incense, a prophet from Judah appeared before him with a warning message from the Lord. Attempting to arrest the prophet for his bold words of defiance, his raised hand was "dried up," and the altar before which he stood was rent asunder.
With this painting Fragonard won the Grand Prix de l'Académie Royale in 1752.