Joseph with Jacob in Egypt

This is one of the panels that decorated the bedchamber built for Pier Francesco Borgherini on the occasion of his marriage in 1515. This was the latest and most advanced of a series painted for the room by several Florentine artists. The decorations also included Pontormo's 'Joseph sold to Potiphar', 'Pharaoh with his Butler and Baker' and 'Joseph's Brothers beg for Help', as well as Bacchiacca's 'Joseph receives his Brothers' and 'Joseph Pardons his Brothers'.

The paintings tell the life of Joseph from the Bible (Genesis 47: 13 and 48). In this painting (which may not have been envisaged in the original commission) the concluding episodes of the story of Joseph and Jacob are ingeniously condensed. There are four separate episodes combined here. They show Joseph introducing his father Jacob to the Pharaoh of Egypt; Joseph on a cart, hearing a petition; Joseph with one of his sons (probably Ephraim, the eldest) climbing the staircase to visit the dying Jacob; and the dying Jacob blessing Joseph's sons.

Key facts

Artist dates
1494 - 1556/7
Full title
Joseph with Jacob in Egypt
Date made
probably 1518
Medium and support
Oil on wood
96.5 x 109.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1882
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

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

probably 1515
Bacchiacca: 'Joseph receives his Brothers'
probably 1515
Bacchiacca: 'Joseph pardons his Brothers'
about 1515
Pontormo: 'Joseph sold to Potiphar'