Matthias Stom (about 1600 – after 1652)

Isaac Blessing Jacob

Sicily, about 1635

Oil on canvas

136.5 x 182 cm

The old and blind Isaac summons his eldest son Esau to prepare his meal and receive a blessing.

His wife Rebecca substitutes her favourite son Jacob who wears goat-skin gloves in order to resemble his hairy brother.  He steps forward gingerly whilst Rebecca gestures to us not to reveal the deception.  The dog sniffing the meat indicates that the biblical story also works as an allegory of the Five Senses – smell, taste, touch, hearing and sight.

Stom was born in the Netherlands, but lived mainly in Naples and Sicily.  His style was based on that of Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) with its dramatic lighting, emotional directness and realistic figures.

Purchased 1994 with contributions from The Art Fund and the Museums and Galleries Commission/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund (No.94.2)

See this painting in the Red Gallery

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