Guido Reni was the most famous Italian painter of his day, revered for the grace and naturalness of his serenely balanced compositions he was even referred to as “the divine Guido.” Working during the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century, Reni depicted images of saints and holy figures in the humanized and accessible form Catholic leaders required. This intimate portrayal of Joseph demonstrates Reni´s skill through his rendering of the foster father of Christ as a simple man tenderly holding his infant son. The fruit held by the infant Jesus is a reminder to the viewer of both the fall of man in Eden as well as the fruitfulness of redemption through the advent of Christianity.
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Guido Reni, Italian (Bolognese), 1575–1642
Saint Joseph and the Christ Child
- Oil on canvas
- Canvas: 35 × 28 1/2 in. (88.9 × 72.4 cm) Frame: 44 3/4 × 38 1/4 × 3 in. (113.7 × 97.2 × 7.6 cm)
- Credit Line
The Rienzi Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III
- Current Location
- Accession Number
Marchese Pierantonio Gerini, Florence, Italy, c. 1677, and then by descent; (sale of the Gerini Collection, Florence, 1 December 1825, lot 281); (Christie’s, 1971); private collection, New York; (French & Company, Inc., New York); Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III, 1981; MFAH, 1996.