Narcisse Diaz de la Pena

Lament of Jephthah's Daughter

Lament of Jephthah's Daughter
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Author: Narcisse Diaz de la Pena
History Painting, Painting, Oil on panel, 37.5x59.5 cm
Origin: France, 1846

Diaz de la Pena rarely turned to biblical subjects in his work, but here he looked to the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. The leader of the Israelites, Jephthah, on the eve of battle with the Ammonites, vowed that if he were to be victorious he would sacrifice the first person he saw on his road home. That person proved to be his only daughter. Learning of her intended fate, she begged permission to go into the hills with her friends and spent just two months lamenting her virginity . After this Jephthah carried out his vow. Diaz de la Pena shows the moment when Jephthah's daughter kneels and reaches out her hands to the rising sun to say farewell to life. The warm sunlight seems to gild the tops of the far hills, the crowns of the trees and the female figures in the foreground.

Source of entry: Museum of the Academy of Arts, Petrograd, 1922
School: Barbizon
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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