'Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba'
London, The National Gallery
In this painting, Claude retells the story from the Old Testament of the Queen of Sheba's journey to visit King Solomon. The queen is just visible on the right of the painting wearing red, descending the steps of the quayside. She is accompanied by her entourage and onlookers.
The story seems to be of secondary importance to the setting. Claude has taken the opportunity to paint the things he was most interested in, such as architecture, the sky, light and reflections on water. There is a great sense of a working seaport, with the hustle and bustle of ships and smaller boats coming and going, and men hurrying around loading and unloading goods and luggage. In the foreground, a boy shields his eyes against the dazzling glare of the early morning sun.
© The National Gallery, London