Plate 30

Rebecca Recognizes Isaak from Afar, 1852 (1853-1860)


The William Hood Dunwoody Fundexpand_more  2000.56.2

Not on Viewexpand_more

Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac. Eliezer's plan was simple: He would choose the maiden who says, "Drink, and I will water your camels" (Genesis 24:14). That person was Rebecca. In this drawing, a recent gift to the Department of Prints and Drawings, she brings her brother Laban to greet Eliezer. The sumptuous contours confirm our recent attribution to the Netherlandish artist Maarten de Vos. It is a preparatory study for a painting at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen.

Sixteenth-century audiences understood Rebecca to be the ideal of a submissive, obedient wife; she rode off the next day to marry Isaac. In contrast to de Vos's fluid modeling, learned at the knee of the Venetian master Tintoretto, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld valued clarity of line. His technique is precise, just like Rebecca's eyesight. Her gesture of farsightedness hints at the future, when she has firstborn rights transferred from Esau to her younger son, Jacob.

Rebecca Recognizes Isaak from Afar
Artist Life
1794 - 1872
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Plate 30