Ernest Normand, Esther Denouncing Haman to King Ahaseurus, 1888. Oil on canvas, Sunderland Museums and Winter Garden Collection, Tyne and Wear, England.
Ernest Normand (1857–1923) was a history painter active in Victorian London. The dramatic style of this work uses light, shadow, and theatrical posing to create a vivid scene, typical of the history painting style of the period. The composition places Esther at the left edge, pointing accusingly at the astonished Haman, a disloyal adviser to her husband King Ahaseurus (Xerxes) of Persia. Ahaseurus is painted in the background shadows, highlighting the action between Esther and Haman. According to the biblical book of Esther, Ahaseurus made Esther his queen because of her beauty, unaware that she was a Jew. Esther is shown dramatically unveiling a plot by Haman to kill all the Jews of Persia as King Ahaseurus looks on unaware of the treachery.