Artibus et Historiae no. 19 (X)

1989, ISSN 0391-9064

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SHELLEY PERLOVE - Guercino's Esther Before Ahasuerus and Cardinal Lorenzo Magalotti, Bishop of Ferrara

Near the end of his life, Cardinal Lorenzo Magalotti, Bishop of Ferrara, commissioned Guercino to paint Esther Before Ahasuerus, a canvas portraying Queen Esther's audience with King Ahasuerus, an Old Testament subject long viewed as the prefiguration of Mary's intercession to God. On one level interpreted as Esther's petitioning of Ahasuerus, onanother as the Virgin's appeal to God, Guercino's painting may also reflect the self-proclaimed mission of its patron, as expressed in Magalotti's statutory and synodial decrees.

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