Monday, January 30, 2012

Konrad Witz - The Queen of Sheba with King Solomon

Konrad Witz, The Queen of Sheba with King Solomon, 1435-37
(Gemaldegalerie, Berlin)

This lovely square panel situated in Gallery 1 of the Gemaldegalerie, lured me in with its embossed gold background and the jewel tones of the fabrics.  The color red , the design on King Solomon's green satin robe,the gold studs on his hat and the urn Queen of Sheba is holding are all wonderful details that help to balance the whole composition.   I don't know if it's the figures' placement in a shallow foreground but something about this painting recalls to mind Rogier van der Weyden's paintings. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be too much readily availabe information about Witz (in English at least) so I could not find a link.
Then again, looking at Rogier van der Weyden's Deposition from 1435, the same year as this panel, Van der Weyden's attention to the intricate details on the surfaces, and most important of all the realism conveyed in the emotions of his figures are not to be found in Witz's painting.

Having said all that, I still found The Queen of Sheba with King Solomon quite charming and worthy of a peak for anyone who is in Berlin visiting the Gemaldegalerie.


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