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, Florence) and was commissioned to celebrate his marriage in 1515. The decorations also included Pontormo's 'Joseph sold to Potiphar', 'Pharaoh with his Butler and Baker' and 'Joseph with Jacob in Egypt', as well as Bacchiacca's 'Joseph receives his Brothers' and 'Joseph Pardons his Brothers'.

This scene is taken from the Old Testament (Genesis 42: 1-8), and shows Joseph's brothers, who had sold him into slavery, begging for help during a famine. The inscriptions allude to Christ's title of 'Salvator Mundi' (Saviour of the World). A parallel was often made between the lives of Joseph and Christ.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1494 - 1556/7
Full title
Joseph's Brothers beg for Help
Group
Date made
about 1515
Medium and support
Oil on wood
Dimensions
36.3 x 142.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought with the aid of The Art Fund (Eugene Cremetti Fund), 1979
Inventory number
NG6453
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Scenes from the Story of Joseph

Painting
Pontormo
probably 1518
Pontormo: 'Joseph with Jacob in Egypt'
Painting
Bacchiacca
probably 1515
Bacchiacca: 'Joseph receives his Brothers'
Painting
Bacchiacca
probably 1515
Bacchiacca: 'Joseph pardons his Brothers'
Painting
Pontormo
about 1515
Pontormo: 'Joseph sold to Potiphar'