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Bol, Ferdinand
The Sacrifice of Gideon The Sacrifice of Gideon
1642 or 1644 1642 or 1644

Ferdinand Bol’s graphic output is not extensive, but he produced several fine etchings depicting biblical narratives. The source of inspiration for the present etching is the Old Testament Book of Judges (VI: 20-23), in which Gideon is approached by an angel that lights fire to the former’s offering as a sign that God will bestow on Gideon the strength to liberate the Israelites from enduring further oppression at the hands of the Midianites. In Bol’s print, focus rests on the moment of divine revelation. Set in a dense, wooded area, a winged angel wearing a white gown occupies the centre of the scene. The angel uses a staff to set aflame the offering as smoke rises to the air. Gideon, shown as a young man, clasps his hands together and twists his body. His reaction is one of fear and awe as he bears witness to a miracle. Both figures are adopted from etchings produced by Rembrandt—Bol’s teacher in the late 1630s. The angel is borrowed from Rembrandt’s The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds of 1634, while Gideon’s pose bears resemblance to the figure of Tobias in the master’s The Angel Departing from the Family of Tobias (1641). Such compositional borrowings were common practice at the time. Furthermore, Bol, like his teacher, showed interest in the way firelight interacts with figures and objects in a defined space; strong contrasts of light and dark passages characterize The Sacrifice of Gideon.

 
Bol, Ferdinand
Dordrecht, Netherlands 1616–Amsterdam, Netherlands 1680 Dordrecht, Netherlands 1616–Amsterdam, Netherlands 1680
The Sacrifice of Gideon The Sacrifice of Gideon
1642 or 1644 1642 or 1644
etching, state 5 of 5 etching, state 5 of 5
Sheet: 22 cm x 17.8 cm
Purchase, J. Stuart Fleming Fund, 2005 Purchase, J. Stuart Fleming Fund, 2005
48-006

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