Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol, 1752. Oil on canvas, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) was a late-rococo French painter. Though Fragonard is most famous for his hedonistic, often erotic genre scenes, he also produced paintings of historical and biblical narratives. Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol epitomizes Fragonard’s exuberant style. It depicts Jeroboam, the first king of northern kingdom of Israel, on the far left, hands raised in prayer. The right side of the composition is far more dynamic in comparison to the statuesque figure of Jeroboam, with officials restraining the man who is to be sacrificed. In the center of the composition, one can make out a golden calf in the background, one of the symbols of God that Jeroboam erected in the temples he built in Dan and Bethel (see 1Kgs 12:26-29).

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol. Oil on canvas, 1752. École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

A category or type, often of literary work.

A gold cultic statue of a young bull, whose worship the biblical authors condemned. The calf first appears in the time of Moses (Ex 32), but golden calves were also worshipped in Northern Israel during the monarchy.

The kingdom consisting of the northern Israelites tribes, which existed separately from the southern kingdom of Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, all the tribes were part of a unified kingdom under David and Solomon, but the northern kingdom under Jeroboam I rebelled after Solomon's death (probably sometime in the late 10th century B.C.E.), establishing their independence. The northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 B.C.E.

1Kgs 12:26-29

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