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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
(Leiden 1606-1669 Amsterdam)

“Joseph telling his dreams”

Etching on laid paper
11,1 x 8,4 cm
signed and dated upper left: Rembrandt f. 1638
More info

Bartsch 37; Seidlitz 37; Hind 160; White-Boon 37,;
The New Hollstein Dutch no. 167, 3rd state (of six)
Plate in existence in Paris – with Nowell-Usticke (1967)

Notes 

This etching displays a part of the story of Joseph from the Old Testament. In the biblical narrative, Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and rose to become vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh, where his presence and office
caused Israel to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt. Pharaoh gave him the name “ZaphnathPaaneah” (Genesis 41:45). The composition of the story can be dated to the period between the 7th century BCE and the third quarter of the 5th century BCE, which is
roughly the period to which scholars date the Book of Genesis.

An important factor in the narrative is that of Joseph’s Dreams, where he sees his jealeous brothers bow before him. After telling them of his dreams they become so antagonized with Joseph that they decide to kill him, however one of the brothers, Rueben, is not on
board but before he can prevent this from happening they have already decided to sell him off to a slave trader. As the story goes, Joseph incurs more hardship as he is thrown in jail after an incident with his master’s wife Potiphar. Eventually he is released by the
Pharaoh and rises to become the second most powerful man in Egypt overseeing all food exports. Here his brothers come begging for food at his feet, unbeknownst tot hem that this is their brother. Thus Joseph’s dream comes to fruition. He forgives his brothers and the whole family moves to live with Joseph.

Provenance

Unidentified, initials C.J. in pencil verso (not in Lugt);
Private collection, USA;
From a private Dutch collection.

Condition

A very good impression of New Hollstein’s third state (of six), before any posthumous
rework, printing with very good contrasts and without wear

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