Pedro Núñez del Valle, Spanish, between c. 1590 and 1594–1649
Jael and Sisera, c. 1630
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

As told in the book of Judges, Jael was an Old Testament heroine who rescued the Israelites from the Canaanites. The Israelites, led by Barak, fought against their oppressors with such vengeance that the Canaanite leader, Sisera, fled and sought refuge in Jael's home. She received him with false hospitality, offering him milk and a place to rest, but while he slept, she pounded a nail into his temple. Núñez del Valle depicted the moment when Barak arrives in search of his enemy and finds him dead. The artist based Sisera's armor on the Roman-style suit shown here, and that of Barak on the armor that had been made for Charles V by Desiderius Helmschmid.