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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Pieter Lastman
Dutch, 1583–1633

Judah and Tamar

Etching, about 1615–20
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Shoemaker Fund, 1975.48

As written in the Book of Genesis, Tamar, a young widow disguised as a prostitute and covered with a veil, seduces Judah, the father of her two deceased husbands, in order to secure an heir for the family (her husbands had both died before she bore them children). She negotiates payment of a goat, but retains Judah’s staff as security. She later used the staff as proof of Judah’s paternity when she gave birth to twins, Pharez and Zerah. Pharez was an ancestor to King David.Pieter Lastman was teacher to both Rembrandt and Jan Lievens. Lastman studied painting in Italy in the early 1600s and was particularly influenced by the German artist Adam Elsheimer (1578–1610).