Joseph with Jacob in Egypt

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Pontormo, Joseph with Jacob in Egypt, 1518
Pontormo uses his manneristics ways to insert four seperate scenes into one cohesive painting. All the scenes work together and make the painting flow in a certain direction. The first scene in the bottom left corner is Joseph introducing his father to the Pharoah of Egypt. Jacob is on his hands and knees on the ground out of respect for the Pharoah. Joseph is wearing a purple robe and pointing to his father on the ground.

The next scene in in the bottom right corner is Joseph sitting on a cart listening to a message about his father, read to him by a messenger who is on his knees next to Josephs cart. . This message is thought to be the news of his fathers illness. Joseph is sitting and holding his eldest son Ephraim on his lap.

The third scene is Joseph in the same clothing as the previous scenes walking up the mysterious stair case with his son. The stairs do not seem to be going anywhere in particular, a very maneristic thing to do. Pontormo is not accurately representing a set of stairs but puts them in the painting as a transition for all the scenes to cohesivly fit together as one piece of work.

The fourth scene is on the balcony at the top right of the painting. Jacob is on his death bed and is blessing his son and all of his grandsons before he passes away. All the scenes work in a way to bring the viewers eyes to the scene at the top.

Pontormo painted this painting for Pier Francesco Borgherini in his bridal chamber. This painting was a set of four panels all portraying scenes from the book of Genesis. Pontormo brings his own life in to the painting by inserting his apprentice Bronzino as a young boy sitting on the stairs in the front wearing a brown coat. Overall this painting is a great representation of four scenes from Josephs life and an example of a manneristic painting at work.


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