Pupil of David, he made his career in Italy, in Florence, Naples and, above all, Rome.
Signed, dated, situated:J.J. Wicar inv. et fecit 1785 Lutetiae.
Gift of the artist to the city of Lille in 1785. Exhibited at the 1786 and 1817 Salons des Beaux-Arts in Lille.
Artists have frequently treated this biblical subject from the First Book of Kings (3, 16-28) where two prostitutes both claim to be the mother of one child: "And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof."
Lille, Musée des Beaux-Arts (P 443).
(C) Copyright Direction des Musées de France, 1994. Photo Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille.