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The Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth (?)
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The Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth (?)


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This painting for a domestic interior corresponds to the popular Renaissance theme known as a “sacra conversazione,” or “sacred conversation,” meaning the holy figures are placed in a unified space and appear to speak to one another. Here they are seen very close up, but the same subject for a public altarpiece would depict the figures at full-length and father from the viewer. The space is a seemingly small room pierced by a window opening onto a distant landscape. At the center is the Christ Child, unusually seated upon a small box and presenting his mother, the Virgin Mary, with a goldfinch—a popular symbol of his death and resurrection—tied to leash. At the left is Mary’s husband and Christ’s earthly father, Saint Joseph, looking out toward the viewer. At the right, Christ’s cousin, John the Baptist, touches Christ’s leg while a female saint, possibly John’s mother Elizabeth (typically represented as an old woman), stands behind. The painting is by Antonio Solario, a native of Venice but active in various regions of Italy in the early 1500s, including Lombardy in the north, the Marches in central Italy, and Campania in the south, near Naples. Solario’s itinerant career led to his being called “Lo Zingaro,” or “the gypsy,” by his contemporaries. For two similar paintings by Antonio, see his "Madonna and Child" compositions at the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, and the Castello Sforzesco, Milan.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Examinationexamined for condition
1/01/1900Examinationexamined for condition
9/08/1938Treatmentcleaned; installed in climate package; reconstructed
12/10/1956Treatmentother
Exhibitions
  • Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2011-2012.
Provenance William T. / Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore, prior to 1909 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters, before 1909

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Period
ca. 1510 (Renaissance)
Medium
oil on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
37.502
Measurements
Painted surface H including modern additions: 29 1/2 x W: 40 1/16 in. (75 x 101.7 cm); Surviving panel H: 28 1/8 x W: 37 5/16 x Approx. D excluding cradle: 7/16 in. (71.5 x 94.7 x 1.1 cm)
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