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Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom
Guido Reni
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Lot and his daughters are shown fleeing the sinful city of Sodom, forewarned by God of its destruction (Genesis 19). The family are in a moment of conversation, perhaps contemplating their next move. Conspicuously absent are details typically associated with the subject, such as Sodom burning in the background or elements of eroticism, alluding to the daughters' later seduction of their father (an attempt to continue their family’s bloodline). Instead, the trio are fully clothed, sober and chaste.

This painting was made in the aftermath of Reni’s return to Bologna from Rome, where he had lived and worked for more than a decade; the statuesque figures and solid handling of paint are illustrative of the style that he had developed there. Since the mid-seventeenth century, this painting has been regarded as a companion piece to Susannah and the Elders (also in the National Gallery’s collection). Though similar in format and both illustrating moralising tales, the two were painted a few years apart, and were not originally intended as a pair.

Key facts
Artist Guido Reni
Artist dates 1575 - 1642
Full title Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom
Series Two Biblical Scenes from Palazzo Lancellotti
Date made about 1615-16
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 111.2 x 149.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1844
Inventory number NG193
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Two Biblical Scenes from Palazzo Lancellotti

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Lot and his Daughters Leaving Sodom and Susannah and the Elders are two works by Guido Reni, both of which depict biblical scenes containing three figures. They are of similar size, and are painted in a horizontal format with dark backgrounds. The two were first recorded in the Palazzo Lancellotti, Rome, in 1640, where they hung together as companion pieces until they were respectively acquired by the National Gallery in 1844.

Upon their acquisition the works were considered to be a pair, given their similarly moralising subject matter, size, and location in the Palazzo Lancellotti. However, cleaning revealed brushwork that suggests the paintings were created in different periods of Reni’s career, and were not made to hang together.

Because the two Old Testament subjects illustrate feminine vice and virtue, the pairing would seem to be deliberate. It’s possible that Reni painted Susannah and the Elders to accompany his earlier work, but it’s similarly plausible that the pairing was made by a collector much later.

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