Jael Slaying Sisera

Carlo Maratti Italian

Not on view

In the later 1670s, Maratti designed a series of mosaics for a space in the left nave of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. It consists of biblical patriarchs, prophets, and heroines in six half-lunettes and four pendentives along with Saint John's vision of the Immaculate Conception in the surmounting cupola. This is a study for the Jael Slaying Sisera mosaic. Sisera, a Canaanite general and enemy of the Israelites, had sought refuge in the tent of Jael after his defeat on the battlefield, mistakenly believing her to be an ally. Plying Sisera with food and drink and inducing him to sleep, Jael hammered a tent peg into his skull, nailing him to the ground. This noble act earned Jael a place among the heroines of ancient Israel. Maratti's drawing shows her holding the tent peg and hammer, poised to perform her grisly yet heroic deed.

Jael Slaying Sisera, Carlo Maratti (Italian, Camerano 1625–1713 Rome), Red chalk, highlighted with white chalk, on blue paper

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