Among the candidates competing to become the new Queen of Persia was a young Jewish woman named Esther, whose beauty and gentleness stood out from the rest. Ahasuerus fell immediately in love with Esther and made her his new queen.
Biblical stories featuring heroines such as Esther, who courageously interceded with the king on behalf of the Jewish people to avert a plot to have them massacred, provided a template of virtue for young women. Schiavone depicts Esther kneeling at the king’s feet to receive her crown. It is a humble position, indicating Esther’s willingness to serve her husband (and the Crown), intended to convey that an attitude of respect and reverence is the appropriate attitude of a bride towards her husband.