(b. 1819, Sainte-Barbe de Samana, d. 1856, Paris)

The Toilet of Esther

Oil on canvas, 45,5 x 35,5 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Esther, a young Jewess chosen by the Persian king Ahasuerus to be his wife, prepares herself to go to him to plead that he save the Jews of the kingdom whom his grand vizier intends to massacre.

The biblical theme serves only a pretext for painting a colourful Oriental scene. In this work Chassérieau seeks the synthesis between a typical Ingres-style theme and the kind of handling used by Delacroix. Hence his Esther resembles oriental women with the curves and arabesques that his teacher Ingres would have preferred, whereas the fabrics and precious articles are treated in the manner of Delacroix.

The painting was one of Chassériau's masterpieces exhibited at the Salon of 1842.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.