Isabelle Rouault will include this painting in the fothcoming third volume of her Rouault catalogue raisonné.
Landscape for Rouault became an increasingly important subject in the latter half of his career. The roots of this broader vision can be found in his work undertaken from around 1913 onward inspired by his dealer Ambroise Vollard's project Les Réincarnations du Père Ubu, in itself inspired by Alfred Jarry's symbolist masterpiece of 1888, the play Ubu Roi. A gouache of 1916, Le Palais d'Ubu Roi I (Rouault 1047), adopts a classically balanced, planar composition that we find repeated in Paysage biblique and that is characteristic of many of his later landscapes. The domed mosque of Ubu's palace as depicted in the 1916 work moreover, seems a direct precursor of the mysterious structure at the centre of the present work.
Bernard Dorival, writing in 1988, has described the mature landscapes thus: 'There is nothing more lyrical than these large, generally broad pages, where parallel scenes, united by tree trunks or houses, lead the eye to a background occupied by a belfry: which is not by chance. Dominated by a sumptuously coloured sky, these landcapes have an opulence to which Rouault's painting had only exceptionally accustomed us' (in Rouault, L'oeuvre peint, Monte-Carlo 1988, p. 15). On this sumptuous colouration, highlighted by Dorival, perhaps the last word is best left with the artist himself, who said of Renoir: 'Glory to you, for having been drunk with colour when so many sought only mediocre success and withered away' (quoted in J. Thrall Soby, Georges Rouault, Paintings and Prints, New York 1947, p. 28).