- Reference number
- Veronese, Paolo
- Cain as a Fugitive with his Family
- Ca. 1585
- 105 cm x 153 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de paso al dormitorio de la serenísima infanta-pieza de retrete”, 1794, n. 1135; Royal Palace, Madrid, “dormitorio de príncipes-pieza séptima”, 1814-1818, n. 1135)
The scene illustrates Cain's punishment for having killed his brother Abel. God condemned him to wander the earth with his family, escaping the attack of wild beasts (Genesis 4, 11-16). Veronese situates the action in a desolate setting with only a tree. Wearing a lion skin and holding a club, Cain watches as his wife breast-feeds their son, sheltered by a boulder.
The wife and son are brightly lit, in contrast to the figure of Cain, who is darker and has his back to the viewer, which is the painter's way of emphasizing his guilt.
This work is listed for the first time in Spain in the 1666 inventory of Madrid's Alcázar Palace. It entered the Prado Museum collection in 1854.