The Illness and Cure of Hezekiah

Accession Number

The Illness and Cure of Hezekiah

Bertholet Flemal

Artist Nationality
Flemish (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

38 7/8 in. x 4 ft. 4 3/8 in. (98.74 x 133.03 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
This narrative painting depicts a scene from the Old Testament (2 Kings 20:1-11) account of the illness and cure of Hezekiah, 13th King of Judah. After being told by the prophet Isaiah that he will die, Hezekiah prays to God. Isaiah receives word from God that the king will recover in 3 days and be granted 15 more years of life. As a sign that this will happen, God causes the shadow of the sun on the sundial to go backwards.
In this painting, a group of men are gathered around the bed where King Hezekiah lies ill. Three men are talking to each other, but the rest, including the king, are staring and gesturing toward a large sundial in the upper left corner of the scene. The prophet Isaiah, in a white cloak, stands at the top of the stairs, above the group.
Although the subject matter is a biblical story, the setting and clothing of the figures is Graeco-Roman.

Physical Description
In the foreground, a group of several figures, dressed in graeco-roman clothing, surround a man lying in bed. The setting has classical architectural components such as columns and pediments and a large stone sundial in the upper left corner. The figures are painted in bright colors (blue, white, gold and red) but the rest of the composition is painted in muted colors (gray, brown, dark green). Most figures are gazing up at the sundial.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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architecture (object genre)
beds (furniture)
kings (people)

8 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Treatment and Healing
(Part of: History of Medicine - American Association of Historians of Medicine (AAHM))
Starke Interaktion
(Part of: W20 - German 416 - Möbel in der Kunst)

& Author Notes

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