The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by Pieter Lisaert

  • This 17th-century oil painting is executed on marble
  • The dramatic piece was composed by the Flemish Old Master Pieter Lisaert
  • In exception detail, it captures the biblical parable of the wise and foolish virgins
  • The work is a remarkable and rare example of this Old Master's highly sought after oeuvre
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Item No. 30-7437
Price: Available upon request
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Pieter Lisaert
1590-1629/30 | Flemish

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

Oil on marble

A stunning work of art executed on marble, this rare 17th-century painting was composed by the Flemish Old Master Pieter Lisaert. Luminous and dramatic, the work depicts the biblical tale of the ten virgins in incredible detail. Lisaert perfectly incorporates the natural patterns of the marble with his rich color palette, exploiting the grain of the stone to add texture and depth to the dramatic scene. With its smoky bands of grey, cream and brown hues, the stone creates a mountainous setting for the popular parable. The result is a work that is simultaneously corporeal and transcendent, demonstrating Lisaert’s unique style and remarkable skill as an artist.

The illustrious Old Master’s oeuvre is celebrated for his highly detailed depictions of biblical scenes. This example tells one of the most well-known parables of Jesus, known as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. Ten bridesmaids are given the honor of participating in a wedding, and each carries a torch as he or she awaits the arrival of the bridegroom. Five of the virgins are wise and have brought extra oil for their lamps; while they wait, they prepare for the bridegroom's arrival. The foolish five, however, have brought no extra oil, and spend their time playing music and dancing. By the time the bridegroom arrives, their lamps have burnt out, and only the five wise virgins can accompany him to the celebration. Lisaert chose to depict the narrative in the hours before the bridegroom's arrival - as the wise five tend to their chores in the foreground, the foolish dance gaily in the background, unaware they will soon be left behind.

The work is one of five known versions of the parable that Lisaert composed throughout his career. A second example, which is currently in the collection of the Conde del Sacro Imperio, is signed by the artist, while another unsigned example painted on panel was sold at Sotheby's London in 2007 for $181,524. A third is in the collection of the Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid).

Though Lisaert left a legacy of beautifully executed works on marble and panel, little is known about the artist's life. He was born in Antwerp in 1574 into a family of successful art dealers. Lisaert became a free master in Antwerp in 1615, after which he was employed as a court painter to King Philip III. In addition to his artistic production, he also joined the family business as an art dealer. It was perhaps for this reason, and also his early death, that his existing oeuvre is so small. Today, Lisaert's works are exceptionally rare, only occasionally appearing on the market.

Circa 1620

Marble: 17 3/4" high x 22 1/4" wide
Frame: 22 1/4" high x 26 1/2" wide
specifications
Artist: Lisaert​, Pieter
Framed:26.5"W x 22.25"H
Unframed:22 1/4"W x 17 3/4"H
Period: Pre-18th Century
Origin:Belgium
Subject:Religious
Depth:1.75 Inches
Width:26.5 Inches
Height:22.25 Inches
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