ID number: BIRBI-49.13
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker: Fetti, Domenico (1588/9-1623)
Title / Object name: The Blind leading the Blind
Object type: Painting
Date made: about 1621/2
Materials: Oil on wood
Measurements: 60.7 x 44.2 cm
Provenance: Dr Bragge's sale, 1753 (lot 61), purchased by George, 3rd Earl of Cholmondeley; remained in family until 1949; purchased by Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd; purchased from Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., in 1949 for £750.
Fetti illustrated many of Christ’s parables, creating a new type of small-scale religious genre painting. Here, three peasants, one with an extinguished lamp, foolishly follow their blind leader into a ditch, illustrating Christ’s warning to His disciples. The group is contrasted, above, with an able-bodied horseman riding in the opposite direction. The pathos of the event is heightened by a dark, stormy landscape.
Fetti was court painter to the Duke of Mantua for whom he painted thirteen parables. This is a slightly later variant of one of them.
Notes: Exhibited: 'Holbein and Other Masters', Royal Academy, London, UK, November 1950 - 07 March 1951, no. 301; 'La Pittura del Seicento a Venezia', Museo d'arte moderna Ca' Pesaro, Venice, Italy, 27 June 1959 - 25 October 1959, no. 44; 'Venetian Seventeenth Century Painting', London, National Gallery, UK, 05 September 1979 - 30 November 1979, no. 12.