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Rebekah appears in the Book of Genesis as the chosen wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham. She is depicted here at the moment when she first sees Isaac. Rebekah’s indirect gaze and her clutching of the veil at her collar indicate her modesty. At the same time, however, her open left hand forms a gesture of welcome. These gestures represent ideal female attributes in the Victorian era. The subject of a veiled figure was first conceived in eighteenth-century Italy and enjoyed a revival in the nineteenth century because it highlighted a sculptor’s virtuosity in working marble.

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