It’s a whole story board in one painting! This is an artwork now on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called Esther and Ahasuerus. It was created in 1560 by a Danish artist and architect named Melchior Lorck. It depicts the story of Queen Esther from the Bible. Esther was the Jewish wife of a Persian king who used her influence with her husband to save her people when one of the royal advisors Haman sought to have them annihilated. Within the larger painting Lorck has set little scenes or vignettes from the story.
Here is Esther going to the king to ask him to come to a special banquet she has prepared for him and his evil advisor Haman who has just issued an edict that all the Jews in Persia should be killed.
The servants bring food to Esther, Haman and the king during the banquet at which Esther reveals that she is Jewish and therefore Haman’s edict will mean she too will die.
The king is so angry at Haman he orders him hung. I’ve put a red arrow in the painting where you can see Haman hanging from the gallows.
There are several proclamations issued in the Biblical account of Esther’s story and I assume these royal messengers are announcing one of them.
One day I’d like to spend more time in front of this painting with the full text of the book of Esther in front of me and see how many other scenes from the story I could find.