The Dance around the Golden Calf

Karel van Mander1602

Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum
Haarlem, Netherlands

During the absence of their leader, Moses, and left without guidance, the Jewish people had a golden image of a calf made, so that they should nonetheless have ‘gods, which shall go before us’. Burnt offerings were brought for the idol. And then the people ‘sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play’ (Exodus 32). The lapse was depicted by Karel van Mander in virtuoso style. In this dazzling Mannerist work, he succeeded in combining the atmospheric landscape tradition of Flemish art with modern Italian views on composition (for example large figures at the side and dogs in the foreground). Van Mander painted this substantial canvas towards the end of his life.


  • Title: The Dance around the Golden Calf
  • Creator: Karel van Mander
  • Date Created: 1602
  • Physical Dimensions: Canvas, 98 × 213,5 cm
  • Type: Painting; history painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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