Object Image

The Rape of Tamar

This violent scene may represent Tamar being raped by her half-brother Amnon. According to II Samuel 13:1–22, Amnon, a son of David, fell in love with Tamar, and with a friend conceived of a ruse whereby he feigned illness and requested his half-sister attend him. When alone, he turned on her and raped her. Overcome with revulsion for what he had done, he then had her expelled from the bedchamber. Seeing what had happened, Tamar's brother Absalom had him slain. Despite the pervasive classicism of this scene, Le Sueur, a founding member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, never went to Rome.

Credit: Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 1984...

Probably c. 1640
Oil on canvas
189.2 x 161.3cm
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019

Where you'll find this

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent collection