The Flight of Lot and His Family from Sodom (after Rubens)

Jacob Jordaensc. 1618-20

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan

The scene of Lot and his family fleeing the sinful city of Sodom at the behest of two angels is based on the Old Testament Book of Genesis:19. The hesitating figure of Lot is shown in the center with his wife seen in profile to his left and his two daughters, trying to carry their riches with them, behind him to the right. They are shown in a gloomy unsettled scene as Lot abandons his position in the town in accordance with an order from God. The pillar seen in the central back section of the composition prefigures the fate of Lot's wife, who is turned into a pillar of salt when she looks back at the city.There are three other known works that have essentially the same dimensions and composition as this work (Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida; Private collection). A comparison of the details of these works was thought to be a good method of clarifying Rubens's studio methods, and thus in the summer of 1993 a study exhibition entitled The Flight of Lot and his Family from Sodom: Rubens and his Workshop was held at the NMWA. The exhibition brought together the NMWA work alongside the two oil paintings from the Bass and Ringling museums, a reproduction engraving of the composition by Lucas Vorsterman, and preparatory sketches for the engraving. The details of the works were surveyed during the exhibition, opinions were exchanged by specialists from the NMWA and other institutions, and the following was clarified. In spite of the fact that the Ringling work includes some student work in its secondary elements, it is overwhelmingly superior in quality and can be considered an original work by Rubens. The Bass work is probably a studio work based on the Ringling work. The NMWA painting has more stereotyped expression in such areas as the beards and angel wings, sections that would have allowed a master's talents to shine, and thus it is thought that the NMWA work is a studio work created under the direction of Rubens. However, in many areas the NMWA work differs from the Ringling painting. Thus, while not yet confirmed, the theory regarding the NMWA work that has the greatest support today is R-A. d'Hulst's view that this painting was from the earliest period of Jacob Jordaens, a young collaborator of Rubens, particularly based on the vigorous depiction of the bodies and the cool, pale lavender tones used in the work. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 28)


  • Title: The Flight of Lot and His Family from Sodom (after Rubens)
  • Creator Lifespan: 1593 - 1678
  • Creator Nationality: Flemish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Antwerp
  • Creator Birth Place: Antwerp
  • Date Created: c. 1618-20
  • Location Created: Flanders
  • attributed to: Jacob Jordaens
  • Provenance: Lewis & Son, London; Auc. Christie's, London, 29. 7. 1937, lot no. 80; E. Lübbert, München (long-term loan to the Martin-von-Wagner-Museum der Universität Würzburg).
  • Physical Dimensions: w1985 x h1695 mm
  • Object title (Japanese): ソドムを去るロトとその家族(ルーベンスの構図に基づく)
  • Object notes (Japanese): 創世記第19章の「ロトの物語」に取材したこの大作には、画面いっぱいに、イスラエルの族長アブラハムの甥ロトが二人の天使に促されて、家族と共に罪深き町ソドムから逃れる場面が描かれている。中央に配されたロトは町を立ち去り難い様子である。ロトの背後で悲しみの表情を見せるのはロトの老妻、右端で財貨を運び出そうとしている二人の若い女はロトの娘たちである。娘たちの暗い表情には、父親との近親相姦という、このあとに生じる背徳行為への暗示がこめられているのかもしれない。中央奥に見える円柱も、うしろを振り返るなという神の命令にそむいて塩の柱に変えられる、ロトの妻の運命を予言しているかのようである。本作品には寸法と構図が微妙に異なる作例が他に3点知られている(フロリダ州サラソータのリングリング美術館、同州マイアミ・ビーチのバース美術館、個人蔵)。これらの作品を詳細に比較検討することはルーベンス工房の実体の解明に道を拓くとの考えから、1993年夏に国立西洋美術館は「ソドムを去るロトとその家族――ルーベンスと工房」と題する小展覧会を開催し、リングリング美術館と、バース美術館の油彩画、リューカス・フォルスターマンによる複製版画、版画のための下絵素描を、本作品と共に展示した。それを機会に綿密な調査を実施し、内外の専門家と意見を交換したが、その結果明らかになったことはおよそ次のとおりである。リングリング美術館の作品は、副次的な部分には弟子の手が入っているにせよ質的には圧倒的に高いことから、ルーベンスによるオリジナル作品と考えられる。バース美術館の作品は、おそらくリングリング美術館の作品にもとづく工房作。国立西洋美術館の作品は、巨匠の腕が発揮されるべき頭髪や天使の翼が類型的に表現されていることから、それまではルーベンスの監督下に制作された工房作と見なされてきた。しかし、多くの点でリングリング美術館の作品と異なることから、おそらくバース美術館の作品にもとづく自由な模写と推定される。作者については、確証こそないが、逞しい肉体表現と冷たい薄紫色を根拠に、ルーベンスの若き協力者であったヤーコプ・ヨルダーンス(1593-1678)の最初期の作と見なすデュルストの説が現時点では有力視されている。(出典: 国立西洋美術館名作選. 東京, 国立西洋美術館, 2006. cat. no. 28)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): ヨルダーンス、ヤーコプ
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/information/privacy.html
  • External Link: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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