Belshazzar's Feast

Image credit: The Bowes Museum

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In this work Carreño depicts the religious story told in the Old Testament in Daniel, chapter 5. Belshazzar succeeded his father as King of the Chaldeans, and held a banquet for his courtiers. During the feast he commanded that the sacred gold and silver vessels that his father had looted from a Temple in Jerusalem should be used at the table. The words Mene, Mene, Tezel, Uparsin appeared on the wall of the hall. This frightened Belshazzar, who then called for his astrologers. Daniel interpreted the words as: ‘God has numbered thy kingdom and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. That night Babylon was captured by Darius, King of the Medes and Persians and Belshazzar was killed.’

The Bowes Museum

Barnard Castle


Belshazzar's Feast




oil on canvas


H 172.5 x W 327.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by the Founders, 1885

Work type



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The Bowes Museum

Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP England

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