The J. Paul Getty Museum

Joseph Cast into the Well

Object Details


Joseph Cast into the Well


Master of Jean de Mandeville (French, active 1350 - 1370)




Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1360 - 1370


Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 1, v1, fol. 39


Leaf: 34.9 × 26 cm (13 3/4 × 10 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

Because of its dramatic historical narratives, more illuminations accompany the book of Genesis than any other portion of the Historical Bible . This miniature from the Genesis cycle of illuminations features Jacob's most beloved son, Joseph. Thrown into a well by his jealous brothers, Joseph cowers, naked and vulnerable. Later, his brothers will sell him to the Ishmaelites and drop his robe into the blood of a goat to convince their father that a wild beast has killed him. On the left side of the image, two of Joseph's brothers are slaughtering the necessary goat.

The illuminator worked in a courtly style, creating figures that move with ease and grace against the richly patterned ground.

Five Hundred Years of Manuscript Illumination (February 11 to June 1, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 11 to June 1, 2003