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Guido Cagnacci (Santarcangelo di Romagna 1601-Vienna 1663)

Jacob Peeling the Rods c.1650

Oil on canvas | 148.8 x 186.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 406088

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When he married Rachel and Leah, Jacob received the speckled half of their father Laban’s flock as dowry. Jacob prepared striped sticks (in the foreground), whipped the sheep with them (in the background) and put them in the water that the strongest sheep drank and bred in (in the middle ground). This genetic modification resulted in many more speckled sheep to add to his herd. The figures of Leah, Rachel and Jacob appear to be carved out of intense light and heavy shadow, and they loom down into our space.

Probably acquired by Frederick, Prince of Wales, by 1750