Gérard de Lairesse
Liège 1641 – Amsterdam 1711
Job mocked by his wife
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, wash. Inscribed G. de Lairesse lower right.
154 x 97 mm – 6 1/16 x 3 13/16 in.
Provenance: J. Goll van Franckenstein (L. 2987), his inventory number N3481 on the verso; Christie’s London, 25 April 2007, n° 453; collection Normand, his mount.
A painter, draughtsman and a printer, Gérard de Lairesse was called in France the “Dutch Poussin”. Influenced by classicism and by artists from the former generation such as Salvator Rosa, Carlo Maratta and Nicolas Poussin, he mainly produced allegorical, mythological and religious scenes. An art theorist, he wrote Het Groot Schilderboek (The Great Book of Painting) published in Amsterdam in 1707.
This drawing illustrates an episode from the story of Job, in the Books of the Tanakh and Ancient Testament. It tells how a righteous man such as Job, who lives in fear of God and far from Evil, must face the temptation of denial. This dramatic story addresses the problem of the existence of evil in the world and of the quest of its meaning by the suffering man.
Gerard de Lairesse chose to illustrate a passage from chapter 2 where Job’s wife prompts him to “curse God and die”. Job who has lost everything – children and wealth – is naked, covered with painful sores and sitting on an ash-heap but nevertheless keeps on praising the Lord. In the sky, Lairesse has put the figure of defeated Satan turning away.
Good condition, a small crease in the left lower part.