Artworks
Daniel in the Lions' Den
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ebrowne's picture

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Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Peter Paul Rubens depicts some real creative talent in the art of torture and murder.

The first question one asks when encountering this painting is “y tho?” And the answer to that very astute question is because Daniel was the favorite of King Darius I and all of the other noblemen were jealous. So they secretly passed a law stating that no one is allowed to worship anyone but the king, knowing how much Daniel loved Jesus. After finding out that Daniel still prayed to God and not him, the king was forced to make an example out of Daniel. So he threw him in into the lion’s den because there was definitely no other options in this situation.

Daniel spent a rather anxious night there, as you can see through his facial expression. He’s trying to make his body small by crossing his legs and holding his arms close to him while still praying, obviously. Meanwhile the lions, ten in all, are circling around him in an about-to-eat-you kind of way. There are human skulls and other miscellaneous bones on the ground suggesting that these lions are not exactly vegetarian. What this painting doesn’t show is what the king and his men found in the morning…

It was a perfectly fine Daniel! Minus the few years taken off of his life due to stress. They were all shocked that he wasn’t dead and asked how he survived. Daniel stated, “O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt." (Daniel 6:21–22) This was a huge relief to Darius because he never really wanted to throw his friend into a lion’s den. It was more of a power thing than a friendship thing. The moral of the story, if you haven’t figured it out, is that if you are loyal to God, he will protect you from harm, death or lions. 

Sources

Sources

  1. "Daniel In The Lions' Den." Nga.gov. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  2. Richard, Paul. "Daniel In The Lion's Den." Washingtonpost.com. N.p., 2006. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  3. The Lions Of Peter Paul Rubens. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2014. video.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Daniel in the Lions' Den (painting)

Daniel in the Lions' Den is a c.1614–1616 painting by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

The subject is from the Book of Daniel, 6:1–28. Rubens modelled the lions on a Moroccan subspecies, examples of which were then in the Spanish governor's menagerie in Brussels. In 1618 he acquired more than a hundred pieces of classical sculpture, in exchange for this painting, eight others and a sum of money.

Although the painting shows Daniel as a young man, according to the biblical chronology Daniel would have been over eighty years old at the time of the incident depicted.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Daniel in the Lions' Den (painting).