Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)
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Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

The Knight of the Lord's Passion

Details
Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)
The Knight of the Lord's Passion
signed with monogram (lower left)
oil on board
24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 30 October, 1985, lot 290, as Head of Mercury, where purchased by the present owner.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

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Lot Essay

The subject of this remarkable oil painting by Simeon Solomon is somewhat ambiguous. Previously sold as the winged messenger Mercury, the symbolism here is more Christian than mythological. There is a related drawing of an armed figure holding a banner decorated with a chalice which Solomon titled The Knight of the Lord's Passion, although in the drawing the banner also shows the nail, spear of destiny and crown of thorns which are the Instruments of the Passion of Jesus, and it is perhaps these to which the title refers. Solomon must also have taken inspiration from The Order of the Passion of Christ, a French knighthood order which was founded by King Richard II of England and his father-in-law, King Charles VI of France. The order was intended to take a Crusade of over one hundred thousand knights to the Holy Land, in the biggest Crusade in history, although it was an ambition rather than a reality. The Order was, however, well documented, and it is very possible that Solomon, with his interest in medieval knights, may well have known about it. Compositionally, the stylised, Symbolist profile view of the head is typical of Solomon’s work in the 1880s and 1890s.

We are grateful to Colin Cruise for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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