barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Domenico Fetti (about 1588/9-1623)

The Blind Leading the Blind

Probably Mantua, about 1621/2

Oil on wood

60.7 x 44.2 cm


Fetti illustrated many of Christ’s parables, creating a new type of small-scale religious genre painting. 

Here, three peasants, one with an extinguished lamp, foolishly follow their blind leader into a ditch, illustrating Christ’s warning to His disciples.  The group is contrasted, above, with an able-bodied horseman riding in the opposite direction.  The pathos of the event is heightened by a dark, stormy landscape.

Fetti was court painter to the Duke of Mantua for whom he painted thirteen parables.  This is a slightly later variant of one of them.


Purchased 1949 (No.49.13)

Domenico Beccafumi (1484 – 1551)

Reclining Nymph (Venus and Cupid)