VERONESE, Paolo
(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

The Banishment of Vashti

1556
Oil on canvas, 500 x 370 cm
San Sebastiano, Venice

The picture shows one of the three large paintings on the ceiling of the nave of the church of San Sebastiano: Esther Crowned by Ahasuerus (rectangular, in the centre), The Triumph of Mordecai (oval), and The Banishment of Vashti (oval).

The interpretation of this pictorial subject is controversial. Veronese's biographer Carlo Ridolfi and subsequent authors identified the picture as Esther confronting Ahasuerus, but a different interpretation is now more widely accepted. Only when the Persian king Ahasuerus had repudiated his disobedient wife Vashti did he choose Esther as his wife. This scene is the moment of repudiation. Relieved of her crown, Vashti leaves the royal palace with her retinue.




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