returned to Amsterdam from Italy by 1633. He crafted here
meticulous Italianate settings for biblical themes such as this
picture. He marked the city as Egyptian by his inclusion of an
obelisk, but the church at upper right, in front of which Joseph
authorizes the sale, faithfully copies a Roman church. As in many
seventeenth-century paintings, a vaguely classical town basking in
rosy light sufficed to evoke a Mediterranean, biblical past.
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