Marco del Buono Giamberti (Italian, Florentine, 1402–1489); Apollonio di Giovanni di Tomaso (Italian, Florentine, 1415/17–1465)
Tempera and gold on wood
17 1/2 x 55 3/8 in. (44.5 x 140.7 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1918 (18.117.2)
This panel depicts an episode from the biblical story of Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus (Esther 2:17–19); it once adorned the front of a cassone, or wedding chest. Esther, a Jewess, competes with other virgins of the kingdom of Shushan to marry the king. He chooses her, and we see the wedding feast unfolding over time across the panel. The artist portrays the event in a Florentine Renaissance setting: a palace like that belonging to the Medici rises behind the procession; a church resembling the Duomo is at center; and the banquet and marriage take place in an outdoor loggia. The story of Esther was dramatized in mystery plays of the late Middle Ages, and the representation of the narrative here may reflect those popular plays.