- Museum number
The Queen of Sheba before Solomon; he sits on a throne under a canopy flanked by advisers and soldiers; two maidens hold Sheba's train; beyond a cityscape with camels waiting outside the palace; after Floris. 1557
- Production date
Height: 375 millimetres
Width: 540 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Bowers catalogue entry
Dirk Volkertsz Coornhert (1522-1590) after Frans Floris (1519/20-1570)
Queen of Sheba before King Solomon, 1557
Etching with engraved lettering, 371 x 542 mm
Purchased from Colnaghi, London
Floris was a prominent member of the artistic community in 16th century Netherlands, and based himself professionally in his native Antwerp. He was largely responsible for introducing the new subject matter of allegory and mythology into Flemish painting learned from his training in Italy c.1542-45. His fame was such that he was nicknamed the ‘Flemish Raphael’ after that great Italian painter of the High Renaissance. This print was designed at a period of intense activity in Floris’ studio, which was modelled on Italian lines and had over one hundred assistants engaged in work of all kinds. The design of prints was a major pre-occupation of that studio and most (as here) were published in Antwerp by the enterprising publisher and art dealer Hieronymus Cock (c.1510-70). The exact input and relationship of Floris to his numerous assistants in the production of these designs has yet to be fully studied. This ambitious print is among the largest that Floris designed.
The scene lacks the exuberance and the decorative quality found in the contemporary print (also by Coornhert) designed by Heemskerck. Floris allowed himself some degree of play with the camels’ long necks but the seriousness of the encounter was his overriding concern. The intent is emphasised by the restrained postures of the protagonists. Sheba and Solomon’s conversation is aided by the use of their hands to articulate meaning watched over by coutiers scrutinising the foreign visitor. The background displays Floris’ knowledge of Classical architecture, and in particular the buildings to the right recall contemporary Italian palazzi. The large domed building re-appears in several of Floris’ prints, including one showing of the construction of Solomon’s fabled palace.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004-2005 17 Oct-13 Mar, California, Bowers Museum, 'Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number