The Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist, from Meisterstiche
48 cm x 36 cm (18 7/8 in. x 14 3/16 in.)
(Mülbracht, Germany, 1558 - 1617, Haarlem, The Netherlands)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Known for his swelling burin lines and naturalistic subjects, Goltzius portrays the Holy Family in an intimate domestic setting. Mary, Joseph, Christ, and Saint John sit together outside a small house. In the window of the house, a cat reaches out to capture a bird with its paws. The humble scene does not depict the Virgin as a heavenly queen but rather as a mother with her child. This connects the holy figures to the viewer’s everyday experiences and so humanizes the religious subject.