Joseph's Coat Brought to Jacob, c. 1633
Rembrandt van Rijn
etching and drypoint on ivory laid paper
10.9 x 8.2 cm; plate: 10.7 x 7.9 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42356)
Rembrandt excelled at capturing the climactic moments of biblical stories in which emotions run high, and the compelling and lengthy narrative of the story of Joseph from the Old Testament offered him plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his skill with dramatic expression. He drew at least eighteen scenes and produced some three etchings from the life of Joseph (Genesis 37:1-50:26). In this print, Joseph's father, Jacob, is struck with grief when shown his favourite son's bloody coat by two of the jealous sons who conspired to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelite merchants and then stage his death by animal mauling. Ludwig Münz discovered a woodcut copy of this print and others by Rembrandt in a Bible published in 1646 by P.I. Paets, Amsterdam, suggesting his influence on illustrators.