Explaining my sudden reappearance after months of inactivity will be dealt with in a future post. At the moment I'm much more interested in an oddity from the days of real painting.
I follow a fascinating blog titled "Where is Ariadne?" Each posting takes a venerable art theme (e.g. Birth of Venus, Apollo and Daphne, Mermaids, Cain and Abel) and presents a gallery of interpretations of that theme by painters down through history. It's interesting to see how each artist staged a time-worn story: his (almost always his) choice of which portion of the tale to present, its setting, which details he featured, and so on.
This week's theme is "Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," one of those great tales in which artists could present a salacious story ennobled by Biblical trappings. You may recall the plot: the wife of Potiphar, a rich bigwig, attempts unsuccessfully to seduce Joseph. The woman scorned grabs Joseph's coat as he beats a retreat. Later she uses the coat as evidence when she accuses Joseph of rape.
As I examined the paintings, two of them caught my eye. The first was this 1703 canvas attributed to Lazzaro Baldi.
The second was a 1711 painting by Jean-Baptiste Nattier.
Do you see what I see? Curious, I took the images to Photoshop. First I flopped the Baldi.
Then I laid the Baldi over the Nattier, making it transparent so we can compare the images. Here's the result. Baldi is on top, reduced to 33% opacity. I moved it around a bit, but I didn't rotate, scale or otherwise alter the image.
I'd love to hear from readers who know more than I do about classic painters. What was going on here?