"THE STORY OF ESTHER"
The image is made on the inner side of the chest cover, which, judging by rich painting could have been a part of the interior of the house of a noble and rich man.
The “Artaxerxes action” was the first play of the Russian theater played in 1672 in the summer residence of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in the village of Preobrazhenskoye. The play was written after the Bible story of Esther. The court theater was organized by a close to Tsar Boyar Artamon Matveev. He was a tutor of Natalia Kirillovna Naryshkin, mother of Tsarevich Peter Alekseevich. The performance was presented on the occasion of the birth of which was given a performance.
The play was written and directed by the Lutheran Pastor Johann Gregory, who organized a home theater for children of Orthodox and Lutheran confessions, who studied at the school of the Lutheran Kirche in Nemetskaya sloboda (a foreigners’ quarter). The content of the Comedy was no different from the biblical dramatic performances played in schools and universities in Western Europe in the XVII Century. The plot of “Artaxerxes action” is the Bible story of Esther, wife of Persian King Xerxes, who by her advocacy saved the Jewish people under the rule of the Persians from slaughter.
Illustrations of manuscripts created for the Bible story of Esther, from the Tsar’s chambers went into everyday life, and were popular in the colorful edifying paintings of the Northern chests.