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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Italian, 1609 - 1664
Journey of Rebecca
c. 1637-39
Oil on canvas

30 3/8 x 39 inches

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Arts of Europe

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was the most important Genoese painter of the 17th century, and his work is noted for the virtuosity of its execution, with brilliant colors set against warm browns.

Castiglione specialized in the depiction of journeys described in the Bible. Here, Rebecca journeys to Canaan from the land of Abraham’s ancestors to marry his son, Isaac. An angel of God appears in the background with the servant sent by Abraham. Rebecca sits on a horse, off center but drawing attention through the brilliant blue of her cloak. The real focus of the painting, however, is the animals in the left half of the composition: the horse, a camel, sheep, cattle, and especially the white-and-black dog who turns to meet the gaze of the viewer. The right half of the composition is open to a mountain landscape, with more figures and animals in the middle ground, and a carefully executed still life of pots and vessels in the foreground.