Judah and Tamar, 17th century


The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  P.69.208

Not on Viewexpand_more

After 1520, artists explored the Bible for themes of lust and eroticism. Judah's two sons died childless-each while married to Tamar. Veiled, she offers herself along the roadside and is impregnated by Judah, as her slung leg and the frowzy, fevered lines of the costumes anticipate. Later outraged by her pregnancy, Judah wants Tamar killed until she proves he is the father, by producing the staff he had given her during their tryst (Genesis 38). Their descendants led to David, then Jesus. The German reformer Martin Luther cited this story as proof that even Christ was "born of flesh that was very sinful."

Judah and Tamar
Artist Life
1583 - 1633
Accession Number
R.E. Lewis
Catalogue Raisonne
Hollstein 1 ii/ii
Curator Approved

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