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Jacob's Journey
Bassano, Francesco
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Bassano, Francesco

Bassano del Grappa, Veneto (Italy), 1549 - Venice (Italy), 1592

See author's file

Jacob's Journey

Second half of the XVI century. Oil on canvas.
On display elsewhere

As Arslan points out, this is the best known version of the Partenza per Canaan (Venice, Palazzo Ducale; 150 x 205 cm) which Jacopo Bassano painted for the Venetian patrician Jacopo Contarini, whose descendant, Bertucci Contarini, donated at the beginning of the 18th century to the Palazzo del Governo in Venice, where it is mentioned as hanging in 1733. The original, dated to approximately 1579, is the last and most grandiose rendering of a theme that was very dear to Jacopo and which he first painted in 1560. On this occasion, he reused the basic composition of similar characteristics of his Return of Tobias, executed around 1573 (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie), endowing it with a panoramic fullness (in no other work is the landscape given such prominence with respect to the human figures), and enhancing its crepuscular tone. The painting illustrates Jacob setting off on his journey to Canaan (Genesis 31: 17-18), and Jacopo successfully conveys the feeling of departure by means of the zigzagging arrangement of the procession, which moves progressively away from the spectator and from the picture plane towards a destination marked by the jutting rock of Gilead in the distance.

The Prado version, which faithfully reproduces the original, is nonetheless more rectangular, probably because it has been trimmed at the top; the 1686 inventory of the Madrid Alcázar describes it as being two varas high, some 22 centimetres more than its current size. Even so, the biggest difference is the lighting. The twilight of the original has completely disappeared and with it the richly suggestive contrast between the illuminated background and an intermediate area of darkness which served to portray the journey as a pilgrimage towards salvation. The authorship of this excellent replica should be attributed to Francesco, whose hallmark is clearly visible in the treatment of the landscape and the figures, which are painted with less broken brushstrokes. Although the artist may have used a coloured sketch (Spilimbergo, private collection) to execute this work, such is its resemblance to the original that he must have been aware of the latter (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: Los Bassano en la España del Siglo de Oro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2001, pp. 212-213).

Technical data

Inventory number
Bassano, Francesco
Jacob's Journey
Second half of the XVI century
Height: 155 cm; Width: 257 cm
Royal Collection (¿Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, dormitorio, 1794, nº 205?; Palacio Real, Madrid, dormitorio de príncipes-pieza segunda de amarillo, 1814-1818, s.n.).

Bibliography +

Bottineau, Y., L'Alcazar de Madrid et L'inventarie de 1686. Aspects de las cour d'Espagne au XVIIe siècle, Bulletin Hispanique, LX, 1958, pp. 311.

Alcolea, S., Granada, Barcelona, 1960, pp. 188.

Arslan, Edoardo, I Bassano, I, Casa Editrice Ceschina, Milano, 1960, pp. 137.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, I, Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975-1985, pp. 59.

Orihuela, M., El ''Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Granada, Boletín del Museo del Prado, IV, 1983, pp. 115-130 [124-125].

Fernández Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales Carlos III 1789-1790, I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 58.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 206, n. 730.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 303-304, n. 151.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Los Bassano en la España del Siglo de Oro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 64-65, n. 3.

Obras maestras del patrimonio de la universidad de Granada, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2006, pp. 253-276.

Ruíz Manero, J. M., Los Bassano en España, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2011, pp. 80-82, n.2JL; 487, il. XI.

Martínez Leiva, Gloria; Rodríguez Rebollo, Ángel, El inventario del Alcázar de Madrid de 1666. Felipe IV y su colección artística, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, 2015, pp. 245 nº 126.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 730.
Bassano. / 730. Viage de Jacob. / La mayor parte de la familia y de los criados están empleados en limpiar y poner en orden la vagilla de cobre que ha servido en la comida y en otras ocasiones domesticas. Una parte del equipage esta ya cargado en los camellos, caballos y borricos prontos para marchar. / Alto 5 pies, 6 pulg; ancho 9 pies, 1 pulg, 6 lin

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 730.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 38.

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. s. n..
Dormitorio de Principes [...] Pieza Segunda De Amarillo [...] {21696-21697} 151 / dos de tres varas de largo dos de alto el primero la profanacion del templo por los mercaderes = el segundo viaje de Jacob con sus mujeres - Vasan

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. ¿205?.
Dormitorio [...] {549} 205 / Tres varas menos quarta de largo y siete quartas de alto: El Viage de Jacob. Basan ... 4000

Location +

Granada - Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada (Deposit)

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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