Andrea del Castagno, Queen Esther, circa 1450. Fresco, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
In this fresco, Andrea del Castagno (1421–57) imagines Esther, the heroine of the biblical book of Esther, to be a woman of great beauty and inner strength. Portrait artists often altered an image to accentuate or minimize the physical, psychological, or social traits that were important at the time. In this case, the artist has in mind Esther’s role in using her position as queen to save her people, the Jews, from destruction. Esther's story has been the inspiration for many artists, including Marc Chagall and Tintoretto. This painting, created around 1450, demonstrates the technique of fresco transferred to wood.