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Monogrammist MZ: The dead king and his three sons (1500 - 1503)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
An engraving by an unknown German artist with the notname 'Monogrammist MZ'. Shown here is a story which was first mentioned in the Gemara or commentary part of the Babylonian Talmud, perhaps compiled around A.D. 400. According to the tale, a king wrote in his will that after his death his corpse should be tied to a tree and his three sons told to shoot arrows at it. Whichever hit nearest his heart was to inherit the kingdom. Two of his sons shot arrows but the third one refused out of love and respect for his father. The appointed judge (king Solomon in this case) declared the third son the winner and with that the new king. Engraving from 1500-1503.

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