53 1/2 by 74 1/2 in.; 135.9 by 198.2 cm.
oil on canvas
George Fulke, 2nd Baron Lyttelton (1763-1828), thence by descent to
Charles John Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, Hagley Hallm near Stourbridge, Worcestershire;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, July 11, 1973, lot 26 (as Jacopo Bassano), to Villiers Gallery;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie's, April 10, 1981, lot 61 (as by Jacopo Bassano);
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, December 6, 1989, lot 22 (as by Jacopo Bassano)
With Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York.
Birmingham, Great Britain, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1926;
Birmingham, Great Britain, City Museum and Art Gallery, Jubilee Commemorative Exhibition of Art Treasures of the Midlands, 1934, no. 110;
London, Lowndes Lodge Gallery, Exhibition in Aid of Venice in Peril Fund, October-November 1971, no. 2;
Tulsa, Philbrook Museum of Art, on loan August 1995-August 1997;
Milwaukee, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Italian Renaissance Masters, January 25-May 20, 2001, no. 4, reproduced in color p. 48.
A Catalogue of Pictues at Hagley Hall, 1811 (as by J. Bassano);
E.K. Waterhouse, in Italian Art and Britain, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1960, p. 19, under no. 11;
J. Shearman, The Early Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1983, p. 26, under no. 19 (as a workshop replica);
V. Romani, in Jacopo Bassano c. 1510-1592, exhbition catalogue, Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, January 23-April 25, 1993, p. 340, under no. 33 (as "...a product of Jacopo's workshop...");
W.R. Rearick, in Jacopo Bassano c.1510-1592, exhbition catalogue, Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, January 23-April 25, 1993, p. 112, footnote. 213 ("A bright and attentive version...is, once again, Francesco's immediate replica after the original");
A. Ballarin, Jacopo Bassano Tavole, vol. II, 1996 Cittadella, p. 45, reproduced fig. no. 764 (as Studio of Jacopo Bassano).
Numerous opinions have been set forth regarding the attribution of the present painting. Most recently, it has been suggested that it was painted in collaboration by Jacopo and his son Francesco. However, Ballarin (see Literature below) considers this to be a studio replica of the Hampton Court painting while Rearick suggests that it is a studio variant that was mostly painted by Francesco and retouched by Jacopo (see Rearick Literature below).
The subject, somewhat rare to the modern viewer, must have been easily recognizable to Jacopo's contemporaries and was in fact a very popular subject at that time. The subject , however, had been confused for decades due to an erroneous old catalogue description of the collection of Charles I of England where the painting was entitled "Abraham". In that story, Abraham, aged seventy-five, went to Canaan accompanied by Sarah and Lot (Genesis 12:1-5). Whereas in the story of Jacob's Journey (Genesis 31: 17-21) the Bible tells of a younger man, in the prime of his life, accompanied by his wives Rachel and Leah, his children and his livestock. The iconography in the present composition and in the related versions is clearly more closely related to the story of Jacob than that of Abraham.