The biblical story about the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon was a popular Renaissance subject for commemorating weddings and births. In this tondo (round painting), the artist transplanted the scene from ancient Jerusalem to an Italian palace much like the one in the northern Italian town of Ferrara where he worked. He also depicted Solomon's splendid guests and attendants according to the artistic tastes and social customs of the powerful Este family, which ruled Ferrara in the 15th century. The extensive use of gold leaf and patterned color recall earlier styles, and at the same time the fresh, brilliant colors, complex design, and charming details typify Ferrarese painting of the period. The artist used the new system of linear perspective to make the buildings and figures appear to recede in space. The underlying lines of the composition meet at the chalice at the very center of the painting.

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Italian (Ferrarese)
The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba
c. 1470–1473
Tempera and gold leaf on wood
Panel diameter: 36 3/8 in. (92.3 cm) Frame (frame diameter): 36 7/16 × 2 1/2 in. (92.6 × 6.4 cm)
Credit Line

The Edith A. and Percy S. Straus Collection

Current Location
The Audrey Jones Beck Building
Accession Number

Principe Michele di Demetrio Boutourlin, Conte Russo, Florence; Edmond Foulc Collection, Paris, by 1894 to 1916; [J. Wildenstein, Paris-New York, 1916 -1927]; Duval-Foulc Collection, Paris, 1916 -1927; [ Wildenstein and Company, New York]; sold to Percy S. Straus, March 31, 1930; bequeathed to MFAH, November 1944.