Description Images of the Holy Family were popular for domestic interiors of Renaissance Italy. There, they served as expressions of Christian devotion and the importance of family. In this example, the Virgin Mary holds infant Christ on her lap while Saint Joseph, Mary’s husband and Christ’s earthly father, stands behind. The Virgin tenderly rests on her hand on the head of her nephew, the infant John the Baptist, who is humbly presented by his father, Zacharias. With their reverent gestures and contemplative expressions, the figures probably served as examples of model devotional behavior to which the family who hung the picture in their home would have aspired. Francesco Rizzo da Santacroce, to whom this painting is usually attributed, was part of a large family workshop in 16th-century Venice that produced many such images for the city’s burgeoning middle class. For another painting attributed to his workshop at the Walters, see 37.577.
|1/01/1900||Examination||examined for condition|
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1881 catalogue: no. 90; 1897 catalogue: no. 439, as Vincenzo Catena]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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