Artemisia Gentileschi 1593 – 1656
Esther before Ahasuerus
oil on canvas (208 × 274 cm) — c. 1630
Additions to Esther 15:7
7. Then lifting up his countenance that shone with majesty, he looked very fiercely upon her: and the queen fell down, and was pale, and fainted, and bowed herself upon the head of the maid that went before her.
The Persian king Ahasuerus intended to exterminate all Jews in his land. Esther wants to ask the king to spare the Jews. But it was forbidden to approach the king without being asked, so Esther was very frightened. When she stands before the angry king, she swoons.
The king then becomes mild and tries to put her at ease by saying that the decree only applied to ordinary people.