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Laban Searching for Family Idols among the Possessions of Joseph

A work made of etching on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching on ivory laid paper.




Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Italian, 1609-1664

About this artwork

Dating to around the time of Castiglione’s first trip to Rome, in 1630, this work is considered one of the artist’s earliest etchings. Depicted is a scene from the story of Jacob, in the book of Genesis. After fleeing Laban’s house in the middle of the night, Jacob and his wives, Rachel and Leah, are overtaken by Laban, who searches for the household idols stolen by Rachel in an attempt to protect Jacob from another twenty years of labor under her father’s rule. The image demonstrates Castiglione’s preference for patriarchal themes and his tendency to place animals in the foreground of his compositions: two sheep rest in the left-hand corner.


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Prints and Drawings


Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione


Laban Searching for Family Idols among the Possessions of Joseph


Italy (Artist's nationality)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Etching on ivory laid paper


Image: 24.5 × 33 cm (9 11/16 × 13 in.); Plate: 25 × 34 cm (9 7/8 × 13 7/16 in.); Sheet: 26 × 34.5 cm (10 1/4 × 13 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

The Joseph Brooks Fair Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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