REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn
(b. 1606, Leiden, d. 1669, Amsterdam)

Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife

Oil on canvas, 106 x 98 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Catalogue number: Bredius 523.

The painting illustrates the Old Testament story told in Genesis XXXIX. Note how Rembrandt, following the principles of Baroque painting, has used light to emphasize the salient features as if on a stage at the climax of a drama. Potiphar's wife, the central figure in the tragedy, seems to speak eloquently and nervously as she gestures towards Joseph's scarlet cloak at the foot of the bed. Joseph, standing in the shadow at the left, denies the accusation, while Potiphar, his hand resting uneasily on the shoulder of the aging beauty, clearly shops his indecision and conflict of emotion.

This painting was probably executed with the contribution of Rembrandt's workshop.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.