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The Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist, from Meisterstiche

1593
16th century
48 cm x 36 cm (18 7/8 in. x 14 3/16 in.)

Hendrick Goltzius (Mülbracht, Germany, 1558 - 1617, Haarlem, The Netherlands) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, Dutch
Medium and Support: Engraving
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.2180

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.

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