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Jewish Captives at Babylon by American Painter Edward Harrison May
This painting is unique in Edward Harrison May's oeuvre; it is one of few that May based on Biblical history and his only known work based on an Old Testament event. "Jewish Captives at Babylon" is presented with its original frame in tact. Large letters at the central top part of the frame proclaim "Flevimus Cum Recordaremur Sion": Latin for "We Wept When We Remembered Zion." Rabbinical sources attribute the line to the prophet Jeremiah.The painting portrays the desolation and lamentation of the Jews in exile following the Babylonian conquest of around 580 B.C. "Jewish Captives at Babylon" represents the Israelites in a wash of romantic, golden light. Both figures cast their eyes heavenward. In the foreground, a harp is cast aside in grief. In the background to the right, the rooftops of Babylon are visible. May's work from this period in his career was seen by critics as "a great improvement over previous work, evidently the result of his French studies." Indeed, the technique shows the influence of May's teacher,Thomas Couture: the graceful posing, the fluid treatment of the drapery, the rich, warm palette, the outline and contrast of the figures against the background, and the deft use of angular, serpentine, and pyramidal lines. These factors make Jewish captives at Babylon among May's most technically advanced and aesthetically elegant work. Complete publication and exhibition history is available upon request.
- CreatorEdward Harrison May (Artist)
- Of the Period
- Place of Origin
- Date of Manufacture1861
- DimensionsH 51.5 in. x W 78 in. x D 0.5 in.H 130.81 cm x W 198.12 cm x D 1.27 cm
- Seller LocationSanta Fe, NM
- Seller Reference NumberPWOL0546
- Reference NumberLU9739784541
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