Lot and His Daughters

Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael, Lot and His Daughters, circa 1595. Oil on canvas, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles.

Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638) was a Dutch painter whose work is closely associated with Mannerism, an artistic style prevalent in Europe in the late 16th century. Mannerism is associated with the dissonant concepts of intellectual sophistication and artificial expression. The style is notable for its flamboyant yet cerebral approach. Notice here how the figures are depicted in twisted repose and rendered in harsh colors. The biblical protagonist Lot’s drunken ruddy face is in sharp contrast to the girls’ smooth ivory skin. This painterly approach mirrors the tension in the subject matter: Is Lot guilty of drunkenness or incest? Are the daughters driven by lust or desire to propagate their race? The narrative story of Lot is fraught with these questions of morality.

Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael, Lot and His Daughters, circa 1595.

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