The Worship of the Golden Calf This painting depicts the Old Testament story of the Israelites’ idolatrous worship of the golden calf. This narrative carried moralistic undertones, since excessive eating was deemed immoral, leading to the sins of Greed, Gluttony, and Lust. Although the disobedient Israelites are shown in ‘ancient’ dress, the food and tableware is the height of seventeenth- century fashion. Roast fowl, pies surmounted by stuffed birds, artichokes, and various ripe fruits, including cherries, peaches, grapes and melons – all with sexual connotation – are served on silver or pewter platters, similar to those on the Baroque feasting table recreated nearby.
Frans Francken the Younger (1581–1642)
Antwerp, Belgium, c.1630 – 35 Oil on panel
Given by Augustus Arthur Vansittart, 1864 (262)
Conserved by Maria Carolina Peña Mariño at the Hamilton Kerr Institute