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Jacob's Journey
Lione, Andrea di
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Lione, Andrea di

Naples, 1610 - Naples, 1685

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Jacob's Journey

1635 - 1665. Oil on canvas.
Room 006

Like many other works by Andrea di Lione, Jacob’s journey, c.1635-65, was previously attributed to Genoese painter Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Il Grechetto). It is one of the most successful landscapes with figures by Lione, who first studied with battle painter Aniello Falcone (1607-1656) and later developed a more bucolic manner under the influence of Castiglione, whom he lived alongside in Naples and very possibly in Rome.

The scene almost certainly represents a passage from Genesis (31:25-31) that recounts the moment when Laban catches up to Jacob on Mount Galaad and rebukes him for having fled with his daughters, Leah and Rachel, and his flocks. Laban appears at the right, with grey beard, and his energetic gesture seems to personify his words from verse 29, It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt. At the left of the composition Jacob appears on horseback with Rachel, who holds her son Joseph in her arms. The child wears a crown of leaves and flowers on his head. Leah, the woman on the right wearing a blue scarf, has her back to the viewer. In the background the camels from Jacob’s caravan are visible in a gap in the terrain. As with other works by Lione, here the light is soft and delicate, and the tree leaves and trunks are carefully and lightly painted in a range of ochres, greys and light greens. These contrast with the more saturated colours on the figures, including Rachel’s salmon-coloured dress, which in turn brings out her flesh tones and those of her son and the various shades of blue that dot the main figures.

This painting belongs to the great tradition of depictions of voyages of Old Testament patriarchs, first popularised by artists such as Jacopo and Leandro Bassano, and followed by others such as Sinibaldo Scorza (1589-1631), the Genoa-based Flemish painter Jan Roos (1591-1638) and especially Castiglione, who is quite rightly mentioned in some old inventories as a painter il quale dipingeba spesso li viaggi di Giacobbe (who often painted Jacob’s journey). These pastoral paintings with biblical subjects allowed painters to depict large groups of figures, animals and objects in motion. Castiglione and Lione brought a more lyrical and grandiose feeling to this tradition, partly because they gave greater importance to landscape, echoing Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.

As mentioned above, Castiglione and Lione’s works bear many similarities, so attributions of their paintings are in constant flux and their oeuvres are still disputed. This work, specifically, shares numerous motifs and figures -perhaps the least convincing ones- with a Jacob’s journey signed by Castiglione, dated 1633, now in a private collection in New York (see for example, Sestieri, 1994). This work in turn is related to a Jacob’s journey signed by Lione at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. It has also been linked to a work in Dresden that shares the same composition, with some variants.

From a chronological standpoint, mention of this painting in the 1666 inventory of the Alcázar Palace in Madrid, following Philip IV’s death, indicates that it cannot have been made later than that date. Indeed, the work may be from the period when Castiglione’s influence on Lione was most marked: between 1635 and the 1660s (González, R.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 174).

Technical data

Inventory number
Lione, Andrea di
Jacob's Journey
1635 - 1665
Height: 99 cm; Width: 123 cm; Base/bottom: 2 cm
Royal Collection (Real Alcázar, Madrid, 1666; Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, pieza de damas, 1818, nº 24).

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catalogo de los cuadros, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1952, pp. 127.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. ?.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 358.

Spinosa, Nicola, La Pittura Napoletana Del'600, Longanesi, Milán, 1984, pp. nº 228.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 369.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura napolitana: de Caravaggio a Giordano, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 220 / lám. 85.

Cóndor Orduña, María, Algunas fuentes compositivas para las obras de Andrea de Lione en el Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, VIII, 1987, pp. 19-31.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 177.

Sestieri, Giancarlo, Domenico Gargiulo Detto Micco Spadaro. Paesaggista e Cronist..., Jandi Sapi Editori, Milán, 1994, pp. 161-162.

González, R, Andrea di Lione 'Jacob's journey' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 174.

Di Penta, Miriam., Andrea de Leone: (Napoli, 1610-1685). Dipinti - disegni, De Luca Editori d'Arte,, 2016, pp. 111 Q47.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 619.
Castiglione (Juan Benito) / 619. Viage de Jacob. / Rebeca con un niño en sus brazos monta en un caballo, seguida de Jacob. Al otro lado Laban hace parar la caravana para que le devuelvan los ídolos que le han robado. En primer término se ve un rebaño de ovejas bebiendo en un estanque. / Alto 3 pies, 6 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 4 pies, 4 pulg, 9 lin.

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 24.
Pieza de Damas [...] {20860} 24 / Quatro pies largo tres de alto viage de Jacob con sus mugeres y ganados = Benedito Castiglioni

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 99.
El viaje de Jacob. (Génes., XXXI.) / Alto 0,99. Ancho 1,23.-Lienzo. / Raquel con el niño Joseph en los brazos, coronado de flores, viaja á caballo seguida de Jacob. De léjos el suegro de éste, Laban, acompañado de dos de los suyos, da voces á los viajeros desde el pié de un árbol, y hace detener la carvana, para que le devuelvan los ídolos que le han robado. En primer término hay un rebaño de ovejas que están bebiendoen un charco. Fondo, pais quebrado, y el monte de Galaad en lontananza.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in white. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Location +

Room 006 (On Display)

Update date: 11-04-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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