Tuscan craftsmen, Mosaic with Stories of the Patriarch Joseph (fourth register)
- Tuscan craftsmen - Deodato Orlandi
- C. 1270-1305
- Baptistery of Saint John
- Specific location
- Interior, vault, fourth register from top, south, south-east, east, north-east, north sectors
- Polychrome tesserae of glass paste, gold
The mosaic decoration of the fourth register of the vault is byTuscan masters (circle of Cimabue, of the Master of the Maddalena and by master of Sienese style) and Deodato Orlandi. In this register the stories of the patriarch Joseph are depicted. The biblical story, narrated in chapters 37-50 of the Book of Genesis, is divided into fifteen stories, in as many panels, defined by columns and entablatures, which arrange them counterclockwise in groups of three out on five segments of the vault.
Northern segment: 1. Joseph's first and second dream; 2. Joseph tells his parents his dreams; 3. Joseph tells his brothers dreams.
North-east segment: 4. Joseph lowered into the well and sold by his brothers; 5. The brothers show their father Jacob the bloody robe of Joseph; 6. Joseph's trip to Egypt with the Ishmaelites.
East segment: 7. Putiphar buys Joseph from the Ishmaelite merchants; 8. Joseph arrested for the unjust accusations of Putiphar's wife; 9. Joseph in prison interprets the dreams of the butler and the baker.
Southeast wedge:10. Dreams of the Pharaoh; 11. Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams; 12. Joseph appointed overseer of Egypt.
Southern segment: 13. Joseph watches his brothers loading the grain; 14. Joseph is reconciled with his brothers; 15. Meeting of Jacob and Joseph.
The stories of Joseph allude to the Christian hope of finding salvation after death because this patriarch was interpreted as a prefiguration of Christ: as Jesus was betrayed and killed by men, but showed himself merciful to them to the point of giving himself in sacrifice, so Joseph, though if sold by the brothers he then forgave them. As Christ rose from the tomb and then received and ascended into heaven to the right hand of God Father, so Joseph, taken from the well, became vice-pharaoh. Then there is a similarity between the baptismal font, present in the temple, and the well where Joseph is thrown, which symbolically refers to the sacrament of baptism and its meanings of death and resurrection.