Part of a series of new perspectives on portraiture commissioned for Archie Plus
Edward John Poynter
The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon
oil on canvas
I first visited the Gallery soon after my arrival in Sydney as a refugee from Sarajevo in 1995. Exploring the Grand Courts, I encountered this beautiful painting and said to myself, ‘Oh my god, look at my favourite couple! They are welcoming me to Sydney!’ I was delighted.
Why was I so happy to see the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon? I have always been fascinated by their love story. One of my favourite poems is the ‘Song of songs’ or ‘Solomon’s song’, the beautiful poem that describes their passion and yearning for each other.
In some countries the Queen of Sheba is also known as the Queen of Saba, as she was the ruler of the Sabines. My name is Sabina, so it has its origins right there with the Queen of Saba.
Twenty-five years since I arrived in Australia, it is still my favourite artwork at the Gallery.
Sabina Krusevljanin, visitor experience host and life enthusiast