Slaying the Shechemites

Simeon and Levi slay the Sichemites (Shechemites); an illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648-1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries.

Hoet was a Dutch Baroque engraver and painter from a glass-painting family. He depicted mainly religious and mythological subjects set in landscapes, usually on a small scale for book illustrations or private devotions. In his long career he also painted portraits and larger landscape pieces.

For this illustration of Dinah's brothers slaying the Shechemites, Hoet set his biblical story from Genesis in a lavish late Baroque city landscape. The mixing of tents, Greek columns, and Baroque architecture typify the style of Dutch academic art around 1700. Protestant visual culture in the Netherlands had moved past the iconoclastic outbreaks of the sixteenth century and embraced books of Bible illustrations as aids to understanding complicated ideas or simply to illustrate exciting scenes and stories.

residents of the city Shechem

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