The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Story of Joseph

Object Details


The Story of Joseph


Biagio d'Antonio (Italian (Florentine) 1446 - after 1508)




about 1485


Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Object Number:



66.7 × 149.2 cm (26 1/4 × 58 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

Drawn from the Old Testament, a series of continuous narratives depicts episodes from the life of Joseph, the favorite son of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob. To make the story easier to follow, Biagio d'Antonio included inscriptions identifying the principal characters.

In the left-hand loggia, Jacob, seated on a throne, sends Joseph to his half-brothers tending sheep in the field. In the far left corner, the brothers, jealous of their father's love for Joseph, strip him of his jacket and throw him into a pit. Passing merchants purchase the young boy from his brothers for twenty pieces of silver. In the background to the right, the merchants board the ship that will take them and their cargo to Egypt. In the right-hand loggia, the brothers show a blood-smeared coat to their father as evidence that Joseph is dead. With his head in his hand, Jacob mourns his son, whom he believes to be dead.

A companion panel in the Metropolitan Museum of Art depicts the next sequence of events in Joseph's life. Originally framed next to one another, these two panels would have been inserted into the paneling of a room in a Tuscan family's home.

by about 1837 -

Museo e Galleria Borghese (Palazzo Borghese, Rome, Italy), possibly by inheritance to Paolo Borghese.
Note: as Pinturicchio

- 1891

Prince Paolo Borghese, 1845 - 1920 (Rome, Italy) [sold, Borghese sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, July 2, 1891, lot 125.]
Note: as Pinturicchio


Sigismond Bardac, French, 1856 - 1919 (Paris, France)
Source: Wildenstein and Company, Italian Paintings, exh. cat. (New York, 1947).

by 1927 - still in 1963

Wildenstein & Co. (New York) (New York, New York)
Note: as Utili da Faenza

- 1970

Gregory Peck (Los Angeles, California) [sold, Peck sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, October 22, 1970, lot 8, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Loan Exhibition of Primitives (January 29 to February 2, 1927)
  • Lotus Club (New York), January 29 to February 2, 1927
Paintings by Old Masters (November 9 to December 1, 1929)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), November 9 to December 1, 1929
Five Centuries of European Painting (November 25 to December 31, 1933)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), November 25 to December 31, 1933
Exhibition of European Art: 1450 - 1500 (May 8 to June 8, 1936)
  • The Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn), May 8 to June 8, 1936
Trends in European Painting from the XIIth to the XXth Century (October 15 to November 15, 1937)
  • Art Gallery of Toronto, October 15 to November 15, 1937
Italian Paintings (1947)
  • Wildenstein & Co. (New York), 1947

Crowe, Joseph Archer, and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy from the Second to the Fourteenth Century. 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1864-66), vol. 3 (1866), p. 295.

Lermolieff, Ivan (Giovanni Morelli). Kunstkritische Studien über italienische Malerei: Die Gallerien Borghese und Doria Panfili in Rom (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1890), p. 142.

Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. Catalogue des tableaux des écoles primitives italiennes et autres objets d'art et d'ameublement. July 2, 1891, p. 34, lot 125.

Morelli, Giovanni (Ivan Lermolieff). Italian Painters: Critical Studies of Their Works. Vol. 1, The Borghese and Doria-Pamfili Galleries in Rome. Constance Jocelyn Ffoulkes, trans. (London: John Murray, 1900), pp. 113-14.

Crowe, Joseph Archer, and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in Italy: Umbria Florence and Siena from the Second to the Sixteenth Century, p. 412.

The Lotus Club. Loan Exhibition of Primitives, exh. cat. (New York: Lotus Club, 1927), unpaginated, no. 4.

Paintings by Old Masters: Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Paintings from the Fourteenth Century to the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1929), unpaginated, no. 4.

Marle, Raimond van. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1923-38), vol. 13 (1931), p. 180.

Venturi, Lionello. Italian Paintings in America. 3 vols. (New York: E. Weyhe, 1933), vol. 2, unpaginated, pl. 273.

Five Centuries of European Painting. Presenting A Collection of European Paintings from the Early Renaissance to the Modernists, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1933), unpaginated, no. 2.

An Exhibition of European Art, 1450-1500, exh. cat. (New York: Brooklyn Museum, 1936), unpaginated, no. 16, fig. 16.

Trends in European Painting from the XIIIth to the XXth Century, exh. cat. (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, with The University of Toronto, 1937), p. 4, ill.

Wehle, Harry B. A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1940), p. 57.

Italian Paintings, exh. cat. (New York: Wildenstein, 1947), unpaginated, no. 14, ill.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works: Florentine School. 2 vols. (New York: Phaidon Press, 1963), vol. 1, p. 212.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works: Florentine School. 2 vols. (New York: Phaidon Press, 1963), vol. 2, unpaginated, pl. 1032.

Parke-Bernet Galleries Inc., New York. Important Old Master Paintings. October 22, 1970, pp. 12, 15, lot 8, ill.

Zeri, Federico, and Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4 vols. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971-86), Vol. 1, Florentine School (1971), pp. 146-48.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), p. 18, no. 21.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 69, 80, ill.

Fahy, Everett. Outstanding Dissertations in the Fine Arts. Vol. 13, Some Followers of Domenico Ghirlandajo (New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1976), p. 207.

Pope-Hennessy, John, and Keith Christiansen. "Secular Painting in 15th-Century Tuscany: Birth Trays, Cassone Panels, and Portraits." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 1980), pp. 38-39, no. 33, ill.

Barriault, Anne. "Florentine Painters for Spalliere: Narrative Cycles for Domestic Interiors, 1470-1520." Ph.D. diss. (University of Virginia: 1985), pp. 79-81, 110-11, 266-67, 306, fig. 15.

Barriault, Anne. Spalliera Paintings of Renaissance Tuscany: Fables of Poets for Patrician Homes (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), pp. 64, 74, 142, 165, no. 2.1, ill.

Caciorgna, Marilena. "Da Eunosto di Tanagra a Giuseppe Ebreo: Un dipinto del ciclo 'Piccolomini' a Washington." La Diana 1 (1995), pp. 246–47.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 10, ill.

Hughes, Graham. Renaissance Cassoni: Masterpieces of Early Italian Art; Painted Marriage Chests, 1400-1550 (Sussex: Starcity, 1997), p. 165.

Bartoli, Roberta. Biagio d'Antonio (Milan: Federico Motta, 1999), pp. 164-65, 224, no. 106, ill.

Bayer, Andrea, ed. Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008), pp. 289-99, under no. 134, entry by Deborah L. Krohn.

Paolini, Claudio, et al., eds. Virtù d'amore: pittura nuziale nel Quattrocento fiorentino, exh. cat.  (Florence: Galleria dell'Accademia, 2010), p. 129.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




A Continuous Story in Art

Lesson in which students study the painting The Story of Joseph and its continuous narrative. They write and illustrate a new story.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

K-2; 3-5

Three/Five-Part Lesson

What's the Story?

Lesson in which students observe how artists use continuous and sequential narratives in three artworks. They illustrate a new narrative and write it.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

K-2; 3-5

Two-Part Lesson