MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban
(b. 1617, Sevilla, d. 1682, Sevilla)

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

Oil on canvas, 64 x 85 cm
Private collection

This mature work is one of the rare paintings of Old Testament subject by Murillo. There is an earlier treatment of the subject by Murillo, now in Kassel. Although the overall setting recalls Murillo's earlier treatment, the mature work is rendered with the soft handling, fluent brushwork and light palette which characterises the artist’s work from the 1650s onwards. It is notable that this is one of very few depictions of nudes within Spanish painting of the 17th century, for at the time the doctrine of the Counter-Reformation was uncompromisingly enforced by the representatives of the Spanish Inquisition.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 5 minutes):
Étienne Nicolas Méhul: Joseph, aria