Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
  • Creator:
  • Description: In the upper of two registers, Potiphar's wife sits on a bed and grabs Joseph by his mantle as he pulls away from her and escapes through an open doorway. Next to this scene is an astrologer holding a spindle and two figures who attend to a child in a cradle. One figure entertains the child with a rattle. In the bottom register is a woman holding a child while two other women spin. These scenes are taken from rabbinic literature. The astrologer is foretelling the birth of Osnath, a child whom Potiphar's wife would adopt and whom Joseph would eventually marry. While the iconography of the lower register is still undetermined, the figures derive from classical images of children accompanying the spinning Fates.
  • Source: WikiMedia Commons
  • Rights: Public domain
  • Subject (See Also): Astrology Bible- Old Testament- Genesis Infants Joseph (Biblical Figure) Potiphar's Wife Spindle Spinning Toys
  • Geographic Area: Eastern Mediterranean
  • Century: 6th
  • Date:
  • Related Work: Vienna Genesis
  • Current Location: Vienna, Ă–sterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Theol. Grec. 31, fol. 16v
  • Original Location:
  • Artistic Type (Category): Digital images; Manuscript illuminations
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Vellum (parchment)
  • Donor:
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): //
  • Inscription:
  • Related Resources: Hofmann, Christa. The Vienna Genesis: Material Analysis and Conservation of a Late Antique Illuminated Manuscript on Purple Parchment. Böhlau Verlag, 2020. Available open access: https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/41206
    Levin, Michael D. "Some Jewish Sources for the Vienna Genesis." Art Bulletin 54, 3 (Sept. 1972): 241-44.