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Herri met de Bles

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah


Herri met de Bles
Bouvignes (?) about 1510 – active until about 1555


The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah


About 1545


Oil on wood


29.8 x 43.2 cm


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1963.1414


Western Art

Herri was recorded as a master in the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. Bles was deeply influenced by the landscape painter Patinir, who came from his native town. After his death, Herri became the pre-eminent landscape artist in the region. His landscapes are characterized by high perspectives and isolated vertical rock formations, animated with small figures engaged in Biblical or common pastoral activities. There remains something of a miniaturist’s mentality in his works, even when painted with a broader brush or on a larger scale. The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities of debauchery that God punished by a rain of fire and brimstone, as well as of the escape of Lot and his family, is presented in Genesis. The figure of Lot’s wife, who turned to salt when she looked back, is placed in the centre bottom foreground.

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