King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I Darius I) held a feast in Susa (Shoushan). He ordered his queen, Vashti, to appear before him and his guests. But Queen Vashti, refused to come. Furious at her refusal to obey, the king deposed of Vashti
Many beautiful maidens were then brought before the king in order that he might choose a successor to Vashti. The King chose Esther. Esther had spent her life among the Jewish exiles in Persia, where she lived under the protection of her cousin Mordecai.
Mordecai became chief minister of Ahasuerus. One day Mordecai overheard a plot of two eunuchs to kill the king. Having informed the king through Esther of the conspiracy, Mordecai brought about the execution of the two conspirators.
The grand vizier, Haman the Agagite, commanded Mordecai to do obeisance to him. Upon Mordecai's refusal to prostrate himself, Haman informed the king that the Jews were a useless and turbulent people and inclined to disloyalty, and he promised to pay 10,000 silver talents into the royal treasury for the permission to pillage and exterminate this alien race. The king then issued a proclamation ordering the confiscation of Jewish property and a general extermination of all the Jews within the empire.
Sheltered in the harem, Esther was unaware of the decree until Mordecai advised her of it. He informed her. At the request of Esther, Mordecai instituted at Susa a general fast for three days.
At the end of the three days, Esther dressed in her royal apparel and went before the king. When the king asked her what her request was, she invited the king and Haman to come to a banquet she had prepared. At the banquet they accepted her invitation to dine with her again on the following day. Haman, carried away by the joy that this honour gave him, issued orders for the erection of a gallows on which he intended to hang the hated Mordecai.
That night the king, being sleepless, ordered the chronicles of the nation to be read to him. Recalling that Mordecai had never been rewarded for his service in revealing the plot of the eunuchs, he asked Haman, the next day, to suggest a suitable reward for one "whom the king desired to honour". Thinking it was himself that the king had in mind, Haman suggested the use of the king's apparel and insignia. These the king ordered to be bestowed on Mordecai.
Only at the second dinner party, when the king was sufficiently beguiled by her charms, did Esther reveal for the first time her identity as a Jew, and accused Haman of the plot to destroy her and her people. The king ordered that Haman should be hanged on the gallows prepared for Mordecai, and, confiscating his property, bestowed it upon the intended victim. The king then appointed Mordecai as his prime minister, and issued a decree authorizing the Jews to defend themselves. More on Esther
Franciszek Smuglewicz, or Pranciškus Smuglevičius, 6 October 1745 – 18 September 1807) was a Polish-Lithuanian draughtsman and painter. Smuglewicz is considered a progenitor of Lithuanian art in the modern era. Franciszek was born in Warsaw into a Polish-Lithuanian family. He journeyed to Rome, where he began the study of fine arts under the tutorship of Anton von Maron. He stayed in Rome for 21 years, where he embraced the Neo-Classical style.
In 1765 he received a royal scholarship from the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Stanisław August Poniatowski and was admitted into the Saint Lucas Academy. As a colleague of Vincenzo Brenna he participated in cataloging artifacts from Nero's Domus Aurea. In 1784 he returned to Warsaw, where he founded his own school of fine arts, one of the predecessors of the modern Academy of Fine Arts.
Smuglewicz became a notable representative of historical paintings, a genre that dominated the fine arts of Poland throughout the 19th century. Around 1790 he started working on a series of sketches and lithographies inspired by Adam Naruszewicz's History of the Polish Nation. Although never finished, this series gained him much popularity.
Smuglewicz brought to Lithuania classical ideas and views of enlightened classicism. He painted everyday life, and the architecture of Vilnius in a realistic manner. His works helped with the ongoing reconstruction of the Royal Palace of Lithuania in Vilnius. More on Franciszek Smuglewicz
By the age of 22, he had frescoed the lateral lunettes (Birth of Virgin and Adoration of Magi) of the Marchionni chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio. He also painted the ceiling of a chapel in Santa Maria in Cosmedin. He frescoed rooms in the Palazzo Barberini
He was a teacher of William Kent, Paolo Anesi, and Giovanni Andrea Lazzarini. His studio is described as highly frequented by French artists.He became director or principe of the Accademia di San Luca. More on Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari
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