Lot and his Daughters

Orazio Lomi

National Gallery of Canada

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the loss of his wife, Lot and his two daughters take shelter in a cave. The daughters, fearing the end of their lineage, conspire to make their father drunk so that they may each conceive a child. The women look back to the devastated cities, not shown but implied by the painter. Gentileschi here returned to a subject he had explored in an earlier painting. Taking a tracing of that work, he painted a near replica, a common practice for him. The first work includes a wine flask, allowing us to see the scene as the aftermath of the daughter's conspiracy. Without it, we are left to speculate: do we see the end of the story, as in the first version, or its beginning? This version was painted in 1622 as a gift for the Duke of Savoy, part of an attempt to win his patronage.


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