LE SUEUR, Eustache
(b. 1616/17, Paris, d. 1655, Paris)

The Rape of Tamar

c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 189 x 161 cm
Private collection

The subject of the picture, previously identified as Tarquin and Lucretia, seems rather to show Tamar being raped by her brother, Amnon. According to II Samuel 13:1-22, Amnon, a son of David, fell in love with his sister Tamar. With a friend he conceived of a ruse whereby he feigned illness and requested that his sister attend him. When alone, he turned on her and raped her. Overcome with revulsion for what he had done, he then had her expulsed from the bedchamber. Their brother, Absalom, discovered the deed and had Amnon slain.

The picture was painted by Le Sueur when he was still deeply influenced by his teacher, Simon Vouet.

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