Description As recounted in the Old Testament book of Genesis, on his way to Haran, Jacob lay down in the wilderness to sleep, resting his head on a stone. He dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway or ladder to heaven (here depicted as a monumental Renaissance-style staircase). God then appeared and blessed Jacob and his descendants. This large panel, apparently intended for a ceiling, was done by the painter, architect, and author Giorgio Vasari for the Florentine Marsilio degli Albizi in 1558. The figures of God the Father and Jacob are based on famous frescoes by Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Raphael (1483-1520) in the Vatican. Vasari wrote the first history of Italian art, in which he praised these Roman frescoes as the culmination of the art of painting. His references to them in his painting are another form of homage.
- Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
Provenance Guglielmo del Tovaglia or Marsilio degli Albizi, Florence, 1558; Justice James A. Murnaghan, Dublin, 1930 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1973, by gift.
Credit Gift of the Dr. Francis D. Murnaghan Fund, 1973
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