Mattia Preti

The Feast of Absalom

c. 1656-1661
"... Preti showed the fearful scene at the Feast where Absalom caused Amnon, who had violated his sister Tamar, to be put to death. A wonderful part of it is the movement of Absalom, rising from his chair at one side of the painting, his left hand on the table and with his right directing the killing of his incestuous brother Amnon. The latter, terror-struck and pressed by his assailants, throws himself on the table, his hands apart, with a face full of fear, seeking to escape the death that is already upon him. Next to Absalom, between them in fact, is seated Tamar, with a fanciful bonnet adorned with feathers and jewels, pale and astonished at the sudden drama. The other figures draw back in astonishment. All in all, everything is terror and horror." Bernardo de Dominici, Bernardo de Dominici, "Lives of the Neapolitan Painters, Sculptors and Architects", (Naples, 1742-43).
Artist
Title
The Feast of Absalom
Date
c. 1656-1661
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
183 x 262 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1977
Accession number
18811