Joseph’s Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob (1630) by Diego Velazquez

Joseph's Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob - Diego Velazquez - 1630

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Artwork Information

TitleJoseph's Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob
ArtistDiego Velazquez
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions223 x 250 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationEl Escorial, Madrid, Spain

About Joseph's Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob

The artwork “Joseph’s Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob” is a significant creation by the notable Baroque master Diego Velazquez, dating back to 1630. This oil on canvas painting eloquently captures a religious narrative and measures 223 by 250 centimeters. It is currently housed at El Escorial in Madrid, Spain. The Baroque period to which it belongs is known for its dramatic intensity and rich detail, which is evident in Velazquez’s treatment of the subject.

In the artwork, we observe a poignant biblical scene from the book of Genesis, where Jacob is presented with the blood-stained coat of his favorite son, Joseph, by his other sons. The coat is a fabric of deceit, as they have sold Joseph into slavery but tell their father that a wild animal has devoured him. Jacob, on the right side of the composition, is overcome with despair as he accepts the garment. His gesture is one of grief and resignation, beautifully capturing the tragic moment of the narrative.

The figures are rendered with exceptional realism, a hallmark of Velazquez’s work. His use of chiaroscuro—the contrast between light and dark—highlights the emotional intensity and depth of the scene. The foreground features several of Joseph’s brothers, who exhibit varied expressions, some showing signs of regret and discomfort while others appear indifferent. A small dog in the lower part of the painting adds a touch of domesticity to the scene, contrasting sharply with the somber mood of the human subjects.

Velazquez’s attention to detail—the texture of the fabrics, the atmospheric perspective in the background landscape, and the nuanced expressions of the characters—transports the viewer back in time to share in Jacob’s sorrow. The blend of dramatic storytelling and meticulous artistry renders this artwork a masterpiece of the Baroque genre and a testament to the emotional power of religious painting.

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