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After Bonifazio di Pitati, Dives and Lazarus

Key facts
Full title Dives and Lazarus
Artist After Bonifazio di Pitati
Artist dates 1487 - 1553
Date made early 16th century
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 47 × 84.5 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3106
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Dives and Lazarus
After Bonifazio di Pitati

A group of wealthy Venetians sits in the portico of a country house. Two of them play instruments while a young Black page holds their music book. They ignore the beggar who holds out his hand for alms, his sores licked by a dog. The painting is disfigured by ingrained dirt, making it difficult to see the details in the background.

The subject is a parable told by Jesus: the rich Dives gives a feast, ignoring the poor beggar Lazarus covered with sores at his gate. Later Lazarus feasts in paradise while Dives goes to hell (Luke 16: 19).

This work has been considered to be a compositional sketch for Bonifazio’s large picture of the same subject painted around 1540 for the Giustiniani family, and now in the Accademia, Venice. However, it is more likely that it is based on the larger work, which was very famous.

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