Pisa, Italy, 1563-London, United Kingdom, 1639
Oil on canvas, 226 x 282 cm
Acquired in 1924
In 1626 King Charles I of England invited Gentileschi to London and commissioned several large-scale canvases from him. This work was one of them and relates the biblical passage in which Lot, having learnt of the destruction of Sodom, flew with his family. On the way his wife, depicted in the landscape as a minute figure, was transformed into a statue of salt when she disobeyed divine orders and turned back to look at the city in flames. Lot and his daughters took refuge in a cave where, in the fear of being left alone in the world, the girls intoxicated and seduced their father in order to bear his children. Gentileschi subtly suggests the eroticism of this delicate subject, symbolically brought into play in the context of the dynastic concerns of the English court, although he had depicted the subject previously in Genoa. The vine, the jug and the spilt wine allude to Lot’s inebriation in this open and elaborate composition, in which the three almost life-size figures stand out against the dark ground thanks to a dramatic lighting. The nuances of Lot’s iridescent robe and of the mantle worn by one of his daughters, painted in bright ultramarine, are rendered with great skill. During this London period Gentileschi’s painting evolved towards a refined colourful style, as exemplified by this magnificent work. In 1628 the painting was hung in Whitehall Palace and was subsequently taken to Greenwich Palace on the express wish of Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I. In the early seventeenth century Gentileschi met Caravaggio in Rome and became one of his most distinguished disciples, capturing his style with greater elegance and less tenebrism than other followers. After working in Rome, Genoa and Turin, and subsequently in Paris in the service of Maria de’ Medici, he eventually took up residence in London. [A.S.L.]
Work being undertaken by the Department of Education and Cultural Action (DEAC) of the museum focuses mainly on the start-up of activities and programmes aimed at a wide range of ages and interests whose main aim is to encourage and stimulate the knowledge and enjoyment of the museum's Permanent Collection and Temporary Exhibitions.
We share the knowledge of other professionals in the field of museum education and listen to the contributions that members of the general public participating in our Educational Project offer. Our end objective is to achieve proper intermediation between the museum and private interests, generating proposals that make people think of the museum as somewhere that generates valuable experiences of knowledge and learning.
The student programmes of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum cover the Education System at all levels and are provided as educational tools that make dialogue and reflection possi...
If you´re aged between 13 and 17, you can put your name down for some of the activities we´ve prepared especially for you.
Oriented towards adults and teachers on training programmes, these Programmes in which adults and teachers will always be accompanied by a museum Educator offer the possibi...
We understand art as being a first class educational resource that lets people develop their capacities and boost their spirits and critical analysis regarding things that ...
We invite people with visual, cognitive or other handicaps and impediments, or who are participating in social insertion programmes to get to know the museum Collections.
The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum wants to be an open, friendly, participitative space in which families can find attractive things to do, activities that will let all of the fam...