Joseph and Potiphar's Wife Rembrandt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Joseph continues throughout Rembrandt's career and it is a story that fascinated him enough to produce paintings, drawings and prints of this significant religious character

Rembrandt produced several bedside scenes but often they were the result of an illness or sexual daliance. In this case the subject is a little different, though still with a sexual connection. Joseph is accused of trying to seduce Potiphar's wife, where as in fact he escaped after rejecting her advances. This is a chapter from the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

It is believed that Rembrandt van Rijn designed the overall composition of this painting and carefully posed the figures, but the actual painting was predominantly completed by one of his workshop assistants, under his supervision.

It was inevitable that someone taught by this great master would also display a similar style within their work. It is understandable that paintings from this period have sometimes proved difficult to attribute between an artist and his studio.

The complaint made by Potiphar's wife to her husband has Joseph added into the scene by Rembrandt, when the original biblical story would have him elsewhere. False accusation and a betrayal of justice is a significant topic for this artist, perhaps his use of it here is influenced by an ongoing lawsuit where Geertje Dirckx claimed that he had promised to marry her. Such a scenario today seems entirely laughable but clearly society at that time would treat such claims differently, at least to the point of giving them the time of day.