The story of Mordecai comes from the biblical Book of Esther. Mordecai reported to Esther, the Jewish consort of the Persian king Ahasuerus, that the king’s minister Haman was plotting the death of Jewish subjects. Esther revealed the scheme to Ahasuerus. Incensed but outwardly calm, the king asked Haman how a hero should be honored. Haman, believing himself to be the hero in question, proposed that the honoree should be clad in royal apparel and paraded on the king’s horse. Mordecai was the one so honored, however, with Haman leading the horse—and then hanged on the gallows on the hilltop.
Lucas van Leyden was the leading Renaissance artist in Holland. His engravings were rare even in the 1600s, and Rembrandt paid enormous prices to acquire them.
Image: Lucas van Leyden, Dutch, c. 1490–1533, The Triumph of Mordecai, 1515, engraving. Bequest of Herschel V. Jones P.68.200