Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1696 – 1770

Rachel Hides her Father's Idols

fresco (400 × 500 cm) — 1726 - 1729 Museum Palazzo Patriarcale, Udine

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo biography

This work is linked to Genesis 31:35

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To compensate for a lack of dowry, Rachel takes her father's statues of familiars (terafim) when she sets out for Canaan with her husband Jacob. Her father, Laban, catches up with them and demands his possessions back. Jacob does not know what Rachel has done. Rachel is shown sitting in the saddle with the statues, claiming she cannot get up "for the custom of women is upon me": she is menstruating.

Presumably Tiepolo used himself as a model for Jacob.

The woman to the left is Rachel's slave Bilha. Next to her Judah holds a cow. He was the fourth son to Jacob and Leah. Leah was Rachel's sister and also one of Jacob's wives. She is shown here holding a jar. The little boy next to Rachel is her son Joseph.

This is one of the fresco's Tiepolo made for the bishop's palace in Udine. It was made on a wall in the gallery, in a very baroque setting.

fresco wall

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