Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916
A leading Roman Catholic artist in Amsterdam, Moeyaert often painted historical recreations of Biblical subjects and is among a group of Dutch painters now known as the Pre-Rembrandtists. Scenes from the Old Testament were popular in Amsterdam because they included tests of virtue and faith, particularly around the theme of family. In the book of Genesis, Joseph was the favorite son of the patriarch Jacob. Sold by his brothers into slavery, Joseph eventually rose by virtue of talents to great power in Egypt, where years later he revealed himself to his brothers, forgave them, and brought Jacob and all his family to Egypt. Moeyaert’s prior work painting stage decorations for theatrical productions and his studies of animals allowed him to portray this emotional moment of reconciliation within a fully elaborated setting. The complex of Roman ruins in the background is likely of Moeyaert’s own invention, as there is no evidence he ever visited Italy.
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