The Banquet of Ahasuerus

Object Details


The Banquet of Ahasuerus


Aert de Gelder (Dutch, 1645 - 1727)






Oil on canvas


114.3 x 142.2 cm (45 x 56 in.)

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Somewhat disheveled, his eyes bleary from drink, King Ahasuerus leans heavily on his left forearm, spilling wine onto his lap from the goblet he holds. This painting shows a scene from the biblical Book of Esther, when, after seven days of feasting and drinking, King Ahasuerus drunkenly asks one of his eunuchs to summon the beautiful Queen Vashti. She refuses to appear, angering Ahasuerus and prompting him to dismiss her and choose Esther as his wife.

Aert de Gelder places the characters against a neutral background and minimizes the action so that the focus is on the interaction between the two figures. Light falls from the left, highlighting the King's flushed face, extravagant clothing, and large frame. The dimly lit figure of the eunuch, modestly dressed, small in stature, and desexed, contrasts with the king's excessive appetites.

- 1816

Jacob van Strij, Dutch, 1756 - 1815 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) [sold, Santheuvel and Strij sale, A. M. de Hart, Dordrecht, April 24, 1816, lot 21, to Lambert Jan Nieuwenhuys.]

- 1816

or Pieter van den Santheuvel, 1732 - 1799 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) [sold, Santheuvel and Strij sale, A. H. de Hart, Dordrecht, April 24, 1816, lot 21, to Lambert Jan Nieuwenhuys.]

1816 -

Lambert Jan van Nieuwenhuys (Brussels, Belgium)

- by 1930

Private Collection (France), sold to Jacques Goudstikker, by 1930.

by 1930 -

Jacques Goudstikker, 1897 - 1940 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A.J.M. Lips (Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

by 1952 -

Dr. Hans Wetzlar (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

by 1956 -

David M. Koetser Gallery (New York, NY)

by 1968 -

Hallsborough Gallery (London, England)

by 1969

Julius H. Weitzner, 1896 - 1986 (London, U.K.)

- 1973

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 11, 1973, lot 72.]

by 1974 - 1979

Gebroeders Douwes (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), sold share to Robert Noortman Gallery, 1979.


and Robert Noortman Gallery (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979.

Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen 1400 - 1800 (June 25 to October 15, 1938) (73)
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), June 25 to October 15, 1938
Prisma der Bijbelse kunst (May 17, 1952 - August 12, 1952) (91)
  • Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, (Delft), May 17 to August 12, 1952
Rembrandt and His Pupils (November 16 to December 30, 1956) (44)
  • North Carolina Museum of Art, (Raleigh), November 16 to December 30, 1956
The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975) (15)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975
A Selection of Important Paintings by Old and Modern Masters from our 1980 Collection (1980) (14)
  • Robert Noortman Gallery, (London), 1980
Gods, Saints, and Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt (November 2, 1980 to July 19, 1981) (43)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), November 2, 1980 to January 4, 1981

A.H. de Hart, Dordrecht. Schilderijn, Teekeningen en Prenten. April 24, 1816 p. 5, lot 21.

Lilienfeld, Karl. Arent de Gelder: sein Leben und seine Kunst (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1914) p. 128, no. 6.

Goudstikker, J. Catalogue des Nouvelles Acquisitions de la Collection Goudstikker (Amsterdam: 1930) unpaginated, no. 17, ill.

Grigaut, Paul L. "Rembrandt and His Pupils in North Carolina." The Art Quarterly 19, no. 4. (1956) p. 411, fig. 4.

Valentiner, Wilhelm R., ed. Rembrandt and his Pupils: A Loan Exhibition, exh. cat. (Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of Art, 1956) p. 199, no. 44, ill.

Fossen, David Raymond van. "The Paintings of Aert de Gelder." Ph.D. diss. (Harvard University, 1969), vol. 1 pp. 104-6, no. 36, fig. 37.

Sotheby's, London. Important Old Master Paintings. July 11, 1973 p. 52, lot 72, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980) unpaginated, no. 37, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980) pp. 55-56, ill.

Lettieri, Daniel. "Text, Narrative and Tradition: Scenes from 'Esther' by Aert de Gelder," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1980) pp. 69-86.

Robert Noortman Gallery, London. A Selection of Important Paintings by Old and Modern Masters from our 1980 Collection. 1980 no. 14, ill.

Blankert, Albert, et al., eds. Gods, Saints and Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1980) pp. 43, 178-9, no. 43, ill.

Sumowski, Werner. Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler in vier Bänden. 6 vols. (Landau: Edition PVA, 1983), vol. 2 p. 1162, no. 732, ill.

Blankert, Albert, et al., eds. The Impact of a Genius: Rembrandt, his Pupils and Followers in the Seventeenth Century; Paintings from Private Collections. (Amsterdam: K. & V. Waterman, 1983) pp. 30, 162.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986) p. 141, fig. 205.

Verhaak, Els and P.L.M. Verhaak. "De bontmutsen van de gebroeders Van Strij." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 38, no. 4 (1990) pp. 340-41, fig. 7.

Boonen, Jacqueline. "Verhalen van Israëls ballingschap en vrijheidsstrijd." In Het Oude Testament in de Schilderkunst van de Gouden Eeuw, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Joods Historisch Museum, 1991) pp. 111, 119n45.

Moltke, J.W. von. Arent de Gelder, Dordrecht 1645 - 1727. Kristin L. Belkin, ed. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 1994) pp. 23-4, 80, no. 42, pls. 22 and 42.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 49, ill.

Schoon, Peter. "Arent de Gelder 1645-1727, 'de beste Leerling die Rembrandt teelde by de adelijke Schilderkunst.'" In Arent de Gelder [1645 - 1727]: Rembrandts laatste leerling, exh. cat. (Dordrecht: Dordrechts Museum, 1998) pp. 50, 52-3, 65-66, ill.

Sluiter, Guus. "Arent de Gelder." In Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon. Vol. 51 (München: Saur, 1992-) p. 177.