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Lot 0041
C. 1760 QUEEN SEMIRAMIS RECEIVING NEWS OF BABYLON OIL ON WOOD PANEL: 18th c., Continental oil on wood panel painting depicting the Assyrian Queen Semiramis receiving word of the Revolt of Babylon. She is shown sitting at her toilette in a state of undress, without her crown, jewels or royal attire and surrounded by attendants as she receives a messenger or soldier telling her of the news. The frame bears etched dates of 1763 and 1768 into the wood, the earlier of the two dates also bearing an illegible inscription, panel 12.25"h x 10.5"w, framed: 20.5"h x 18.5"w.

This scene depicts Queen Semiramis being disturbed at her toilette by a messenger or soldier informing her of the revolt of Babylon. Semiramis was a Greek mythological founder of the Assyrian Empire Nineveh who is thought to have been loosely based upon the actual Assyrian queen Shammuramat (Semiramis), wife of Shamshi-Adad V of Assyria. She was said to be uncommonly beautiful and was the daughter of the fish goddess Derceto (Derketo) who abandoned her in the wilderness. She was found and adopted by the family of Simmas, a sheep herding family who cared for the royal flocks. She married a General of the Assyrian King Ninus, however King Ninus was so taken by her bravery that he wanted to marry her pressuring her husband to the point of his suicide, after which they were married. Her and King Ninus had a son named Ninyas. King Ninus conquered Asia and Bactria but he was fatally wounded by an arrow. Semiramis then masqueraded as her son and tricked her late husband's army into following her. After Ninus's death she reigned as queen regnant, conquering much of Asia. She restored the ancient city Babylon and protected it with a high brick wall surrounding the city and then went on to build several palaces in Persia. Refs. 1. Laing, Alastair. Clerics and Connoisseurs, an Irish Art collection through the Centuries. London: English Heritage, 2001. p. 246. 2. “Semiramis.” Wikipedia. 23, March 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiramis.


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Estimate $2,400 - $4,800Oct 30, 2016