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Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, Rebecca at the Well

Key facts
Full title Rebecca at the Well
Artist Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
Artist dates 1675 - 1741
Date made 1708-13
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 127.3 × 104.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Claude Dickason Rotch, 1962
Inventory number NG6332
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Rebecca at the Well
Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

This painting depicts a story taken from the Book of Genesis. Abraham had sent a servant to his homeland to find a bride for his son, Isaac. The servant came to a well, and waited for a woman kind enough to provide both him and his 10 camels with water: this woman would be the perfect bride for Isaac.

Here, an elegantly dressed Rebecca, Isaac’s future wife, looks calmly at the servant, her hand resting on a water pitcher – she seems only a little surprised at his request. He offers her several pieces of jewellery, which spill out of the box in front of him.

Pellegrini’s characteristic use of long, energetic brushstrokes and his confident application of paint can be appreciated in the bunched-up folds of Rebecca’s blue dress and cream bodice and in the servant’s red drapery, which add a vibrancy and rich texture to the scene. The woman and camels behind are painted in paler tones and thinner paint layers, giving the impression that they are further away.

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