Francesco Hayez (February 10, 1791, Venice - December 21, 1882, Milan)
The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem 1867
Oil on canvas painting
183 × 252 cm
Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Venice
Francesco Hayez (February 10, 1791, Venice - December 21, 1882, Milan) was the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories and exceptionally fine portraits.
His early works show the influence of Ingres and the Nazarene movement. His later work participates in the Classical revival.
The Second Temple was built after the return from the Babylonian Captivity, around 536 BC (completed on March 12, 515 BC). This Temple was desecrated by the Roman general Pompey, when he entered it after taking Jerusalem in 63 BC. According to Josephus, Pompey did not remove anything from the temple or its treasury.
Herod's Temple was a massive renovation of the Second Temple including turning the entire Temple Mount into a giant square platform. Herod the Great began his expansion project around 19 BC, dismantling the Second Temple in order to build a larger, grander version.
Herod's Temple was destroyed by Roman troops under general Titus in AD 70, ending the Great Jewish Revolt that began in AD 66.It is this destruction in AD 70 that the painting memorialises.
The destruction of the Temple is mourned on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B'Av. It has been called the "saddest day in Jewish history". The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was followed by the scattering the people of Judea and commencing a two thousand year Jewish exile.