The Hebrew Joseph was propositioned by the wife of his master Potiphar, captain of the Pharoah’s guard (Genesis, XXXIX, 7–20). When they were alone she clutched at his robes, pleading with him to make love to her, but Joseph fled leaving his cloak in her hands. Potiphar’s wife avenged her humiliation by accusing Joseph of trying to rape her, using his cloak as evidence, whereupon he was thrown into prison. The high moral tone of the scene is somewhat undermined, however, by the undue attention paid to incidental genre-like details such as the magnificent carpet, still life and dog. The artist treated the subject, a common one in Dutch art and literature of the seventeenth century, on several occasions.
Where to see this painting?
The Wallace Collection
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