CloseZoom In
Zoom Out
Pontormo: 'Joseph sold to Potiphar'
This painting is part of the group: Scenes from the Story of Joseph
This picture formed part of the decoration of the bedroom of Pierfrancesco Borgherini (in the Borgherini palazzo in Florence), and was commissioned to celebrate his marriage in 1515. The decorations also included Pontormo's 'Pharaoh with his Butler and Baker', 'Joseph's Brothers beg for Help' and 'Joseph with Jacob in Egypt', as well as Bacchiacca's 'Joseph receives his Brothers' and 'Joseph Pardons his Brothers'.

The story is taken from the Old Testament (Genesis 39: 1). This scene shows Joseph (the central boy in yellow) standing before his new master Potiphar, to whom he has just been sold by the Ishmaelites, seen grappling for their payment on the left.

Joseph's life was thought to mirror that of Christ; the New Testament parallel of this incident was Christ's betrayal.

Directly above Potiphar is a statue of Charity, perhaps underlining the moral message of the story.

Further information