Elisha Multiplying the Widow's Oil
38 1/4 x 56 in. (97.2 x 142.2 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on panel
Gift of James O. Belden
Location: Not currently on view
The inscription on the steps in this painting identifies the subject as a rarely depicted episode in the life of Elisha (II Kings 2:23-25). Presaging Christ’s acts of charity, the Old Testament prophet is shown alleviating the poverty of a widow by miraculously providing her with oil to sell.
The widow, in great debt and concerned that a creditor would take her two sons to be bondsmen, approached Elisha for help. When he asked if she owned anything of value, she replied that she had only a pot of oil. Elisha instructed the widow to borrow as many vessels as possible from all her neighbors. She poured her small amount of oil into each vessel; each of them remained full. When she told Elisha of the miracle, he said “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt; you and your children shall live from the rest.”
Back of canvas covered with aluminum backing board. No marks on frame.
[Possibly included in a sale at Mr. Stanley's, London, July 17, 1824, as lot 22, "Elisha and the Widow's Cruise of Oil" by an artist of the Flemish school, where it was bought in;] private collector; sold, Sotheby's, London; Unknown dealer, London, 1950s; James O. Belden, Washington DC; his gift to the Gallery in 1977
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This object was included in the following exhibitions:
This object has the following bibliographic references:
Article Scope: Reproduction only.
Susan Dodge Peters, ed.
Memorial Art Gallery: An Introduction to the Collection.
New York, New York: Memorial Art Gallery in association with Hudson Hills Press, 1988.
Article Title: Acquisition.
Article Scope: Article and reproduction.
Memorial Art Gallery.
Rochester, New York: Memorial Art Gallery, 1935-1995.
Volume Number: 44,
Issue Number: 6.
Issue Date: January 1979.
Article Scope: Mention.
Magnum Opus: The Story of the Memorial Art Gallery, 1913-1988.
Rochester, NY: Memorial Art Gallery, 1988.
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