Kunstbilde

David Roberts (1796-1864)
Olje på lerret, 135,6 x 196,5 cm, privateie.

Den fullstendige titel er: The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus AD 70.

Originalmaleriet, som ble meget godt mottatt da det for første gang ble presentert, forsvant fra offentligheten i 1854. Det ble trolig solgt til en ukjent kjøper. I 1961 dukket det opp igjen, og ble auksjonert bort hos Christie’s i London. Kjøperen var en italiensk kunsthandler i London. Ikke lenge etterpå ble det på ny solgt i Roma, til en ukjent kjøper. Flere opplysninger finnes her.

Det gjengitte bilde er en rekonstruksjon på grunnlag av bevarte litografier. Kunstneren har nøye fulgt Flavius Josefus’ beskrivelse i Den jødiske krig (6.1.1..) her i William Whistons engelske oversettelse:

Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done), [Titus] Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as they were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison [in the Upper City], as were the towers [the three forts] also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall [surrounding Jerusalem], it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.
And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.

I 1838-39 gjorde David Roberts en omfattende reise til Midt-Østen, som resulterte i en mengde skisser og akvareller. De dannet siden grunnlag for både oljemalerier og litografier.

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