Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house by Baron Henri de Triqueti (1803-74). 1837. Bronze bas-relief panel on the door of the Madeleine. Place de La Madeleine, Paris. Photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.

According to Jonathan Ribner, in this panel illustrating the commandment against covetousness, Triqueti has used as "a solemn exemplar of retribution" the Old Testament story of King Ahab and Jezebel fleeing "before the indignant Elijah, who predicts that dogs will lick the wicked king's blood and devour his guilty wife for coveting the vineyard of the murdered Naboth (1 Kings 21)" (87). Thus unregulated human passion is subject to divine wrath. The dogs are skinny: the ribs of the one in the middle can be clearly seen. The unpleasant suggestion is that they are ravenous, and ready to fulfil Elijah's prophecy.

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References

Ribner, Jonathan P. Broken Tablets: The Cult of the Law in French Art from David to Delacroix. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Available offsite here.


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Last modified 30 March 2009