Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

Balthasar Griessmann (Wasserburg 1620–1706 Salzburg) , or his circle
second half 17th century
Overall: 3 11/16 × 6 7/8 in. (9.4 × 17.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Alexis Gregory Gift, 1997
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 533
In Genesis 39, Joseph resists the advances of his master Potiphar's wife. The Old Testament story reverses the dynamic of familiar rape scenes while retaining the titillating contrast between a nude woman and a clothed male. Here, the figure's movements are confidently handled—the flying folds of his cloak and the strands of streaming hair emphasize Joseph's panicky retreat. Detail is focused less on the anatomical minutiae of the woman's sensuous body than on rendering her luxurious bedroom fittings and elaborate coiffure.
[ Kunsthandel Mehringer , Munich, until 1997; sold to MMA ]
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