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Poorter, Willem de
The Idolatry of Solomon
around 1635

This animated, boldly-sketched drawing represents an episode in the biblical history of King Solomon, who towards the end of his life was driven by lust for his many concubines to adore false gods. The subject was popular in 17th-century Dutch art for its moralizing lesson of the perils of power and the flesh. The creator of this particular iteration has been identified by the Art Centre as Willem de Poorter, who is known to have studied Rembrandt’s work and to have absorbed, especially, the master’s quick and economic touch with the pen, and his sophisticated rendering of figural groupings and light effects that articulate the drama of their subjects. Several figures are posed similarly to those in De Poorter’s paintings of the mid-1630s, the likely date for this drawing. De Poorter is known to have often hidden a monographic signature in his drawings, and indeed a “W”, and “d” and a “P” are incorporated into the lines depicting the folds in Solomon’s sleeve.

This drawing has been acquired in memory of J. Douglas Stewart (1934-2008), with funds generously donated by his colleagues and friends: Jane Baldwin, Deborah Child, John Christianson, Mary Crawford, Bruce K. B. and Doris Laughton, David McLay, Sarah and David Pugh, Sheila Pullen, Elizabeth Rutherford, H. Grant Sampson, Mary E. Scoates, Mel Wiebe and Lola Cuddy, David de Witt, Daniel Woolf and Julie Gordon-Woolf.

 
Poorter, Willem de
born Haarlem 1608; died Haarlem after 1649
The Idolatry of Solomon
around 1635
pen and black ink and grey wash over black chalk on laid paper
19.6 x 16.2 cm
Purchased with funds donated in memory of J. Douglas Stewart, 2011
54-001

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