Commissioned by Aurelio Zaneletti [or Zanoletti] of Reggio in 1649. (Samuel Woodburn, 1820-1823). Charles Stewart, 3d marquess of Londonderry [1778-1854], London, by 1833; by descent to Alexander Charles Robert Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 9th marquess of Londonderry [b. 1937], Wynyard Park; purchased 1986 by NGA.
- The Age of Correggio and the Carracci: Emilian Painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, shown only at National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1986-1987, not in cat.
- Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercino 1591-1666, Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna, 1991, no. 121, color repro.
- Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercino 1591-1666, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 1991-1992, no. 66, color repro.
- Guercino: Master Painter of the Baroque, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1992, no. 48, color repro.
- Obras Maestras de la National Gallery of Art de Washington, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, 1996-1997, unnumbered catalogue, 66-67, color repro.
- "Sovrane Passioni. Le raccolte d'arte della Ducale Galleria Estense, Galleria Estense, Palazzo dei Musei, Modena, 1998, no. 186, repro.
- Malvasia, Carlo Cesare. Felsina Pittrice. Vite de' Pittori Bolognesi con aggiunte correzioni e note inedite dell'autore di Giampietro Zanotti e di altri scrittori. 2 vols. Bologna, 1974: 267, 329-330 (originally published 1678).
- Mahon, Denis. Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591-1666: Catalogo critico dei dipinti). Exh. cat. Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna, 1968: 188.
- Artioli, Nerio, and Elio Monducci, with Denis Mahon. Dipinti "reggiani" del Bonone e del Guercino. Exh. cat. Basilica della B.V. della Ghiara, Reggio Emilia, 1982: 108-110, cat. 20-21 (not exhibited).
- Mahon, Denis, in The Age of Correggio and the Carracci. Exh. cat. Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Washington, D.C., 1986: 481, n. 2.
- Salerno, Luigi. I dipinti del Guercino. Rome, 1988: 332-333, no. 261-262, color repro.
- Mahon, Denis, and Nicholas Turner. The Drawings of Guercino in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. Cambridge, 1989: 192, no. 657.
- Willette, Thomas. "Guercino's Paintings of 'Joseph with the Wife of Potiphar' and 'Amnon and Tamar,' and Research on Massimo Stanzione." Center 9: Research Reports and Record of Activities. Washington, D.C., 1989: 97-98.
- Mazza, Angelo. La collezione dei dipinti antichi della Cassa di Risparmio di Cesena. Bologna, 1991: 147.
- Russell, Francis. "Guercino in England." In Guercino in Britain. Paintings from British Collections. Exh. cat. National Gallery, London. The Burlington Magazine 133, suppl. London, 1991: 10, figs. 10-11.
- Stone, David. Guercino: catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1991: 255-257, no. 246, color repro.
- Stone, David. Guercino, Master Draftsman. Works from North American Collections. Exh. cat. Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bologna, 1991: 74-76, figs. 29b-c; 222.
- De Grazia, Diane, and Eric Garberson, with Edgar Peters Bowron, Peter M. Lukehart, and Mitchell Merling. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 162-170, color repro. 164.
- Seeing Double: Two Versions of Guercino's 'Joseph and Potiphar's Wife'. Exh. cat. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, 1999: fig. 8, color repro.
The support is a heavily and coarsely woven twill fabric. The ground is dark and thick with large white particles; its fine pebbly surface shows through the thinly applied paint layer. X-radiographs reveal a large dense area of ground extending in a triangular shape from the upper-right corner; on the left it extends down to the level of Amnon's shoulders. It bears no relation to the composition. The paint appears to be more thinly and spontaneously applied than in the pendant. No artist's changes have been detected.
The tacking margins have been opened and incorporated into the present picture surface. There is a large tear at the right of Amnon's head and another between Tamar's right shoulder and Amnon's left elbow. Scattered losses have been retouched throughout. Extensive abrasion is located in the background drapery, at the bottom of Amnon's blue drapery, and in the flesh tones. The sinking-in of the green background curtain has altered the contrast with the foreground figures. Discolored varnish was removed and the painting was restored by Michael Swicklik in 1986.