After disobeying the Lord’s command to proclaim judgment on the city of Nineveh, the Old Testament prophet Jonah was cast into the sea, swallowed by a sea monster, and ultimately cast ashore. When asked a second time, Jonah obeyed the Lord but became displeased when the city was spared. After pleading for Nineveh’s destruction, Jonah left the city and rested in the shadow of a large gourd vine. The Lord, however, made the vine wither, exposing Jonah to the burning sun.
The sculpture shows the dramatic moment when the Jonah, having languished in the desert, is saved by the shade of a gourd vine. The sculptor paid great attention to detail such as Jonah's bushy beard echoing the large leaves overhead.