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Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph by Rembrandt van Rijn


1656 oil painting

Jacob deliberately crossed his arms and put his right hand on Ephraim’s (the younger son’s) head and his left hand on Manasseh’s (the oldest son’s) head. Joseph was displeased and thought that his father was making a mistake. When Joseph tried to correct his father, Jacob refused and told Joseph that he was purposefully blessing the younger son.

This painting only shows the blessing of Ephraim. The arms aren’t crossed and Manasseh isn’t being blessed simultaneously, as the text implies. In addition, Rembrandt omits the argument between Joseph and Jacob. In fact, the tenderness and warmth of the familial interaction seems to suggest that the blessing of the younger son was the original intention. Lastly, Rembrandt included the mother of the children, Asenath.


Owner/SourceSchloss Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel, Hesse, Germany
Date24 Oct 2018
File nameJacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph by Rembrandt, 1656.jpg
File Size170.71k
Dimensions1024 x 844
Linked toASENATH; EPHRAIM; JACOB=>ISRAEL; JOSEPH; MANASSEH

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