Sunday, February 4, 2018

01 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretation of the Bible! by the Old Masters, With Footnotes - 76

Denys Calvaert, ANTWERP CIRCA 1540 - 1619 BOLOGNA
THE HOLY FAMILY WITH SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AND AN ANGEL, c. 1579
Oil on canvas
22 7/8  by 16 1/4  in.; 58 by 41 cm.
Private collection

In this painting, the Holy Family, Saint John the Baptist and an Angel, all adorned with delicate golden halos and some dressed in thick draping fabrics, fill the entirety of the composition, surrounded by classical architecture and a window that opens up to a landscape beyond.  At the center is the Madonna and Child, whose body turns ever so slightly to gaze upwards towards both the loose bouquet of flowers falling from the angel’s hand nearby and his mother’s adoring gaze.  Captivated by the scene at hand is the young Saint John the Baptist, who energetically twists towards the central figures pointing upwards with one hand and gently caressing the arm of the Christ child with the other.  Balancing out the composition is Saint Joseph, who looks on from the left, leaning on a parapet and holding a cane with one hand while resting his head on the other. More on this painting

The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. Veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Saint François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, who founded a Confraternity.


Matthew and Luke narrate the episodes from this period of Christ's life, namely his Circumcision and later Presentation, the Flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the Finding in the Temple.[Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, as Luke narrates that they brought Jesus with them on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem with other Jewish families. More on The Holy Family 

John the Baptist (sometimes called John in the Wilderness; also referred to as the Angel of the Desert) was the subject of at least eight paintings by the Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610).

The story of John the Baptist is told in the Gospels. John was the cousin of Jesus, and his calling was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. He lived in the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." He baptised Jesus in the Jordan.

According to the Bible, King Herod's daughter Salome requested Saint John the Baptist's beheading. She was prompted by her mother, Herodias, who sought revenge, because the prophet had condemned her incestuous marriage to HerodMore John the Baptist

Denis (or Denys) Calvaert (about 1540 – 16 April 1619) was a Flemish painter born at Antwerp, who lived in Italy for most of his life, where he was known as Dionisio Fiammingo or simply Il Fiammingo (the Fleming). Calvaert was a profound student of architecture, anatomy, and history, his works are characterized by their advanced composition and colouring.

After studying landscape-painting for some time in  Antwerp he first studied under Christiaen van Queecborn.

He then went to Bologna, where worked under Prospero Fontana. His paintings acquired the mannerism of Flemish art and appeared to be the work of an Italian. From Bologna he went to Rome in 1572, where he assisted Lorenzo Sabbatini in his works for the papal palace of the Vatican, and devoted much of his time to copying and studying the works of Raphael.

He returned to Bologna and founded a studio. He had a number of prominent young apprentices, including Guido Reni, Giovanni Battista Bertusio, Calvaert was respected by his fellow citizens in Bologna and by his colleagues. More on Denys Calvaert

















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