As part of the preparation for our 20 years celebrations, our Chinese Bronzes and Women’s Library collections will be closed from Monday 26 February, reopening with the rest of our new season on Thursday 21 March.

Luca Giordano 1634–1705

The Judgement of Solomon



Luca Giordano 1634–1705


The Judgement of Solomon


About 1690


Oil on canvas


62.5 x 75 cm (unframed); 82.5 x 94 cm (framed)






On Display

This canvas is one of a pendant (pair) that illustrates two stories from the Old Testament: The Judgment of Solomon and The Brazen Serpent (CVCSC:0380.2.S). In this painting, Giordano depicts at the top left the enthroned king Solomon, who has been asked to decide which of two women depicted is the real mother of a baby. Both women had recently given birth, but one child had died (here shown lifeless on the ground) and each of them claimed motherhood of the remaining, living child. To settle the debate, Solomon announced that the living child should be cut in two, so that each mother could have half. The real mother, desperate and unable to bear her son being killed, immediately offered it to the other woman. Thanks to this expedient, Solomon was able to identify the real mother and return the living child to her. His verdict is clearly indicated by his outstretched arm, pointing to the kneeling woman who told the truth. This pair of paintings date to Luca Giordano's maturity, when, influenced by sojourns in Venice and Florence, he adopted a new use of light and colour. These innovations were combined alongside a new sense of dramatic movement and had a major influence on Italian Baroque art. Signed: Jordano; Jordano/F.

Luca Giordano The Judgement of Solomon About 1690 © Compton Verney