Jacopo Bertoia

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Jacopo Bertoia
1544-approximately 1573
Joseph in Prison Interpreting the Dreams of Pharaoh's Butler and Baker (Genesis 40:1-23)
ca. 1570
Pen and brown ink and wash, over graphite, on paper; squared in pen.
9 11/16 x 8 11/16 inches (246 x 221 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
III, 141a

Inscribed on mount in graphite, "Joseph interpreting the dreams / of the butler and baker"; in another hand, "D...(?)"; on verso of mount: at top left, in brown ink, "15"; at lower left, in graphite, "Salviati (crossed out) / Philipes Sale June 1801 / 1(?) day Lot 100"; in another hand, "9"; at lower right, "very good & true P".

Possibly Thomas Philipe (the inscription may refer to the direction of the sale of 1801 rather than to Philipe's property; no mark; see Lugt 2451); Charles Fairfax Murray (in his Inventory of 1910, as Maarten De Vos); from whom purchased in 1910 by J. Pierpont Morgan (no mark; see Lugt 1509).

Previously attributed to Marten de Vos, the drawing was identified as a study by Bertoia for a fresco in the Stanza dei Sogni (Room of Dreams) in the Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola by Hugo Chapman in around 1995 (Bologna, 1991, 78-80, no. 202). Considered Bertoia’s masterpiece at Caprarola, the Stanza dei Sogni is located on the piano nobile of the palazzo and was evidently used as a bedroom. The frescoes on the vault portray various scenes of dreams from the Old Testament, with Jacob’s Dream in a large oval compartment taking up most of the vault. Joseph Interpreting the Dreams of Pharaoh’s Butler and Baker is one of four rectangular scenes in the four lunettes of the vault above the cornice. Joseph is the figure in the middle, the co-prisoner on the right, who raises his arm, apparently the baker, who dreamt “I had three white baskets on my head: and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for the Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them” (Genesis 40), while the one on the left is probably the butler. The Morgan Library drawing is one of ten studies by Bertoia for the Stanza dei Sogni (De Grazia, 1991, no. 78-80).


Tuebingen, 1967, 253; Stampfle 1991, no. 248; Eitel-Porter and Marciari 2019, 20-21.
Stampfle, Felice, with the assistance of Ruth S. Kraemer and Jane Shoaf Turner. Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries and Flemish Drawings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1991, p. 112, no. 248.


Watermark: none visible through lining.
Formerly attributed to Anonymous, Flemish School, 17th cent.
Formerly attributed to Giovanni Battista Trotti, called il Malosso.
Formerly attributed to Maarten de Vos, 1532-1603.

Associated names: 

Anonymous, Flemish School, 17th cent., Formerly attributed to.
Trotti di San Giulietta, Giambattista, 1686-1738, Formerly attributed to.
Vos, Maarten de, 1532-1603, Formerly attributed to.
Philipe, Thomas, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.

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