The Judgement of Solomon
Production date
1610 – 1633
Object number
510 mm x 440 mm

The Solomon is sitting on his throne and proclaims the judgement. Two women claim to be the mother of a baby after one of them had exchanged her deceased child for the other’s baby. Solomon judges that an executioner will hack the living child into two, so that each mother receives half a child. The real mother begs for the child to be given to the other mother who is looking on intently. At which point Solomon assigns the child to the real mother. Theologians considered the scene as a pre-figuration of the Last Judgement.
Of all the kings of Israel, Solomon was seen as the most powerful and especially the wisest. In the law courts Solomon’s judgement was considered to be an excellent example of jurisdiction. The painting that was the basis for this print was originally displayed in the town hall of Brussels (Belgium) to illustrate the motto: ‘Here the administrator does justice to those who merit it’. Nowadays it is in the Statens Museum fur Kunst in Copenhagen (Denmark). The print was produced at the request of Rubens, who in this way wanted to protect his composition from copyists and plagiarism.

CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)

Other artworks of this artist

The Raising of Lazarus
The Judgement of Solomon