JOSEF SCHAKEWITS (German, 19th Century)

JOSEF SCHAKEWITS (German, 19th Century)

Noah Curses Ham

indistincly signed and dated Jo...Schakewits/76 lower left--oil on canvas
43¼ x 55in. (109.8 x 139.7cm.)

Lokeren, Belgium, Retrospective Exposition of Josef Schakewits, 1977, exh. cat., no. 3

Lot Essay

Schakewits won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1876 for this powerful rendition of the drunkenness of Noah as told in Genesis 9:20-27. It is a subject which Biblical scholars suggest is a prefiguration of the mocking of Christ. As told in the Bible, Noah had a vineyard and would get drunk and take off his clothes inside his tent. Schakewits's composition illustrates the moment when Noah curses Ham for discovering his nakedness and asking his other sons Shem and Japheth to help him cover their drunken father with a cloak. As punishment for this act Noah bannishes Ham's son, Canaan. Following the usual iconography Noah is shown in his tent, seated on the ground, and covered by the cloak which Ham and his brothers have used to cover his nudity.