Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

WAG 2798


This Old Testament scene shows the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon and presenting him with gifts. Pittoni painted in the Rococo style, known for its light colours and decorative approach. The Queen of Sheba is shown on the left as pale-skinned. However, she probably came from present-day Ethiopia. The Queen of Sheba appeared as an African woman in early European art. However, by the 15th century she is mainly depicted as white. Racist attitudes developed in Europe with the introduction of transatlantic slavery and related laws. This is linked to the erasure of Black figures in art at this time, particularly Black women.