FETTI, Domenico
(b. ca. 1589, Roma, d. 1623, Venezia)

Parable of the Sower

c. 1619
Oil on wood, 62 x 45 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The Parables series, which Fetti painted for Duke Ferdinando Gonzaga possibly between 1619 and 1621 has an important place in his oeuvre. It represents the largest ensemble of paintings by the artist, and perhaps also of his most widely replicated and copied inventions. There are thirteen known compositions, all painted on wood. All of these paintings were intended for a significant location: the Grotto of Isabella d'Este in the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua.

The present painting depicts the New Testament parable, but it is set during the daytime rather than at night, while the farmers stop to take a nap. Their enemy is identified as a diabolical creature, in keeping with the Gospel.