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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Artist
Guido Reni, Italian (Bolognese), 1575–1642
Title
Saint Joseph and the Christ Child
Date
1638–1640
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
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
Rienzi
LIBRARY
Accession Number
96.1565
Classification
Painting
Provenance

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.