By Appointment Only Leuven Belgium 32475648678
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Francesco Primaticcio (Attributed)

16th C, Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

Origin France
Period Pre 18th Century
Materials fresco on canvas
W. 43.11 in; H. 54.53 in;
W. 109.5 cm; H. 138.5 cm;
Condition Good.
Creation Date c. 1550
Description The painting represents the Old Testament story of Joseph being seduced by the wife of Potiphar (Gen. 39:5-20). Joseph, who had become the attendant of Potiphar – an official of the Pharaoh –, took care of the household of his master. Potiphar’s wife was charmed by the handsome Joseph and tried to get him into her bed. Joseph, who didn’t want to damage Potiphar’s trust, refused to respond to her advances. When she invited him again to have sex with her, Joseph ran out of the house one day. His cloak, with which she wanted to draw him closer, remained in her hand. The grace and elegance of the style – also known as ‘mannerism’- is typical of the “First School of Fontainebleau”. This term refers to the Italian painters – among whom Francesco Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino - who were engaged by the French King François I to decorate the palace of Fontainebleaufrom the 1530’s. It is possible that this work was painted by Primaticcio or rather his assistants. Unfortunately, no painting with this theme has been mentioned in the sources about the castle of Fontainebleau. The Cabinet du Roi probably did contain two paintings with ‘Joseph and his brothers’. Formally, there is some resemblance between Joseph’s pose on the ‘Spectandum canvas’ and the elaboration of the figure of Joseph on a tapestry, designed by Jacopo Pontormo and Agnolo Bronzino ( It was Cosimo I de Medici who commissioned a series of twenty tapestries about the stories and dreams of Joseph. The works, from 1545-1553, were initially displayed at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Styles / Movements Traditional
Dealer Reference Number CE_0086
Incollect Reference Number 493232
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