St. Joseph and the Christ Child, c. 1714–30

Not on Viewexpand_more

Jesus and his mortal father, St. Joseph, are captured in a moment of connection. The Bible does not contain a scene like this, and it is rare in Christian art of this time for an artist to invent an image not explicitly described in the Bible. The tender glances exchanged between father and son are more significant than the earthly bonds of familial love. Instead, they suggest a mutual awareness of Christ’s destiny to die for the sins of man and its timeless significance. The apple – the fruit of salvation – identifies Christ as savior, and the grapes in the angel’s basket refer to holy wine which some Christians drink in remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion and sacrifice.

St. Joseph and the Christ Child
Artist Life
(Rome), 1654–1727
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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