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Italian Artist

Jacob and Laban's Daughters, 1680-1719
Oil on canvas
29 x 24 3/8 in. (73.66 x 61.91 cm)

Creation Place: Europe, Italian
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961
Accession Number: P61.1.4

The biblical story of Jacob is the subject of this work. After cheating his brother Esau out of his birthright and his blessing, Jacob was forced to flee for his life. Following his mother's advice, he took refuge in the home of his uncle Laban, who had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob fell in love with Rachel and agreed to work for his uncle for seven years in order to marry her. At the end of the seven years, however, Laban gave him Leah instead. After working another seven years, Jacob married Rachel as well. He went on to father twelve sons, from whom the Twelve Tribes of Israel descended.

This scene, by an anonymous Italian painter, shows Jacob removing the stone slab that covers a well. At the left, Rachel and Leah wait to water their sheep. The trio is dressed in classical attire; their flowing garments and sandaled feet evoke a very different time that that of biblical Israel. In the background, a town is tucked among rolling hills and lush grass, a serene landscape reminiscent of the French painter Poussin.

Stylistically, this composition is late-17th- to possibly early-18th-century from Bologna. The layered, delicate palate indicates that this is two generations removed from Guido Reni (an esteemed Bolognese painter). This painting is a swing from naturalism back to greater Classisism. It is French in its feeling, with homage to Reni in positioning, narrative composition and gesture. Reni's influence is also seen in the face of the standing daughter. The painting show awarness of Poussin too, in the way the landscape is rendered.

On back of canvas: "323" is an early inventory number. This painting traveled through similar channels as P61.1.13; it has some of the same stamps and marks.

French artist in Bologna, Italy (?)

Samuel H. Kress Collection (K1824), 1950-1961. Donated by the Kress Foundation to Pomona College in 1961.

Related Objects
The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College has box of Xrays of the Kress Collection.

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  • Sight Dimensions: 29 x 24 3/8 in. (73.66 x 61.91 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Frame Dimensions: 36 7/8 x 32 in. (93.66 x 81.28 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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