This imagining of the rest taken by the Holy Family on their way to Egypt captures a tender, familial scene. Here we see St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary taking pleasure in the holy play between the infant cousins, Jesus and St. John the Baptist. Theological allusions can be found with the palm trees, the wooded cross, and the open pomegranate. Keeping in mind the horror of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents as the contextual backdrop, the contrast is consoling as much as it is startling.
From the J. Paul Getty Museum:
"Fra Bartolommeo's art reflects the development of Florentine art from the detailed realism of the 1400s to the idealized grandeur, compositional simplicity, and rhythmic movement of the High Renaissance style of the 1500s. The purity of lines and volumes in one of his paintings inspired the young Raphael."
From lands that see the sun arise
To earth’s remotest boundaries,
The Virgin-born today we sing,
The Son of Mary, Christ the King.
Blest Author of this earthly frame,
To take a servant’s form He came,
That, liberating flesh by flesh,
Whom He had made might live afresh.
In that chaste parent’s holy womb
Celestial grace hath found its home;
And she, as earthly bride unknown,
Yet calls that Offspring blest her own.
The mansion of the modest breast
Becomes a shrine where God shall rest:
The pure and undefilèd one
Conceived in her womb the Son.
That Son, that Royal Son she bore,
Whom Gabriel’s voice had told afore;
Whom, in His mother yet concealed,
The infant Baptist had revealed.
The manger and the straw He bore,
The cradle did He not abhor;
By milk in infant portions fed,
Who gives e’en fowls their daily bread.
The heavenly chorus filled the sky,
The Angels sang to God on high,
What time to shepherds, watching lone,
They made creation’s Shepherd known.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to thee:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.
-Hymn at Lauds from the Divine Office
5" x 7"
*printed on matte white card stock