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Jacob's Journey to Egypt
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Unknown
German, Bavaria, about 1400 - 1410
Tempera colors and gold paint on parchment
13 3/16 x 9 1/4 in.
MS. 33, FOL. 54

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Dressed in long robes, an elderly man sets out on a journey. A large group of his relatives follow him, some walking and others riding in a wagon, together with their animals and domestic goods. This image from the Weltchronik shows an episode from the biblical story of Joseph and his father Jacob, the old man seen in the image.

Joseph, whose betrayal by his brothers had led to his enslavement in Egypt, became a successful governor of Egypt during a time of terrible famine in Israel, his homeland. When his brothers were sent to Egypt to ask for food, Joseph sent them home with a message that Jacob and his whole family should move to Egypt, where Joseph would take care of them. The figures in this scene look like the medieval Germans who would have viewed the image, stressing the connection between the viewer and the story's message of forgiveness and generosity.