Esau Selling His Birthright to Jacob for a Pottage of Lentils

Jan Victors17th Century

The Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw

The Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland

As determined by Debra Miller, the painting has a pendant, signed J Victors / 1653, showing Ruth and Naomi (Ruth
1: 15–17), formerly in a private collection, 4 June 2015 on sale at Sotheby’s in New York, lot no. 41 (canvas, 109 x 137 cm; D. Miller, Jan Victors 1619–76,
diss., University of Delaware 1985, no. 67), composed in a similar
manner—the figures shown half-length in the close foreground.
The paintings form a pair with regard to their composition and
subject, based on a dialectical combination of complementary, yet
juxtaposed motifs, thus fulfilling the 17th-century Dutch criteria for ‘weergar’ or ‘wedegarde’—namely pendants. The scene depicting Jacob
and Esau in an interior is juxtaposed with the scene of Naomi and Ruth
set in a landscape; male protagonists with female protagonists, and
rivalry between siblings—with love and filial affection. Both scenes are
an interpretation of one of the most fundamental biblical themes—the
immutable continuity of the male line of Abraham’s descendants, which is
maintained thanks to the decisions taken by the protagonists: Esau sold
his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, while the widowed Ruth
did not return to her mother, but remained with her husband’s family (Miller 1985, pp. 178–79). [D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 112, pp. 410–411.]


  • Title: Esau Selling His Birthright to Jacob for a Pottage of Lentils
  • Creator: Jan Victors
  • Date Created: 17th Century
  • Location Created: The Palace on the Isle - Picture Gallery, ground floor
  • Physical Dimensions: h 109,0 w 137,0
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: oil
  • Art Genre: portrait
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: canvas

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