Joseph Claims Benjamin as His Slave

Joseph Claims Benjamin as His Slave

1700-1714, Lifespan: 1649-1714
Cristobal de Villalpando, Mexican, 1649-1714
Born: Mexico City, Mexico
Work Locations: Mexico City, Mexico
oil on canvas
Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer

Cristobal de Villalpando (Mexico), Joseph Claims Benjamin as His Slave, 1700–1714. Oil paint on canvas. 
Denver Art Museum: Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2009.761 

frame height: 67 in, 170.1800 cm; frame width: 89 1/4 in, 226.6950 cm; image height: 59 7/8 in, 152.0825 cm; image width: 82 5/8 in, 209.8675 cm
Villalpando, fac
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

Cristóbal de Villalpando (ca. 1649-1714) is considered the most accomplished artist of the colonial period in Mexico as well as a pioneer in developing a painting style decidedly divergent from European traditions and unique to Mexico.  Although compositions are based in part on engravings of paintings by Rubens, Villalpando and his followers moved beyond the European tradition by tightening the focus of the composition and moving it to the front of the picture plane, creating a shallow space for the action, and emphasizing a horizontal stagelike format.  They also retained many traits from Mannerism, long out of favor in Europe, such as contrived body and hand positions with elongated limbs as well as diaphanous and surreal textile colors. This example, signed by the artist, comes from a well-known series by the artist on the Life of Joseph of the Old Testament.  It not only serves as an outstanding example of his oeuvre, but also demonstrates the interest in Old Testament iconography common in Latin America in the late Baroque period.
--Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 23 December 2009 by the Frederick and Jan Mayer Collection to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • "Painting a New World: Mexican Art and Life 1521 - 1821," Denver Art Museum, April 3 - July 25, 2004.

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