Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Part III of 3

Henri Mauperche, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
French, 1671
Paris, Musee du Louvre
In my two previous essays on the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Parts I and II, we looked at most of the ways in which artists chose to depict the subject over the centuries.  One category of works remains, however, which is a little different from them.  Many of the works reviewed in the first two articles could, except for the presence in many of them of angelic guides, or messengers, or helpers, be simply pictures of a little family of three reposing during a long journey.  To be sure, some had references to the Biblical story or a great deal of religious symbolism worked in.  However, without knowing what to look for such references and symbolism could easily be overlooked.  But there is one final category in which it would be impossible to misunderstand the nature of the family depicted.






Adoration of the Christ Child

The final category that I found in my searches is the subject of the adoration of the Christ Child.  In these images it is most frequently angels who bow down before the Child in postures of adoration.  However, Mary and Joseph also perform the same actions.  It is somewhat similar to the adoration of the newborn Jesus, but it clearly occurs on the road to Egypt. 

Fra Bartolomeo, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, c.1500
Pienza, Palazzo Vescovile
Pieter Coecke van Aelst, The Rest on Flight
into Egypt
Flemish, c.1530-1540
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum


























Annibale Carracci, The Rest on Flight into Egypt
Italian, c.1604
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum

Guido Reni, St. Joseph Adoring the Infant Jesus
Italian, 1620s
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum
Clearly this is set on the Flight.  In the right 
background Mary can be seen seated and 
attended by an angel.
Giovanni Battista Gaulli, The Virgin Mary
Adoring the Infant Jesus
Italian, 1700
Cardiff, National Museum of Wales
Also set on the Flight.  Joseph can be seen in
the right background tending to the donkey.




























Sebastiano Ricci, Holy Family with Angels, Rest on the
Flight into Egypt
Italian, c.1700
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1752-1753
Budapest, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum


















Franz Ittenbach, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
German, 1868
Berlin, Nationalgalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin



Philipp Otto Runge, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
German, 1805-1806
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle




Four of these images stand out particularly.  All come from the century between the latter part of the seventeenth century and the late eighteenth century and are all the work of Italian painters. 

Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari, Rest on Flight into Egypt
with Instruments of the Passion
Italian, c.1675
Derbyshire (UK), Calke Abbey, National Trust


The earliest, by Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari, looks quite similar to some of the scenes in which angels offer fruit or flowers to the Child.  A kneeling angel offers a basket laden with objects to the Child Jesus, who is seated on Mary’s lap.  He has already removed two objects from the basket.  One is a small wooden cross, which He holds in His right hand.  The other is a nail, which He holds in His left.  

Looking carefully at the basket one can make out some of the other objects.  There are more nails, a whip and something spikey.  What the angel offers is not fruit or flowers, but the instruments of the Passion.  It is a rather shocking reminder of what the adult life of this Baby refugee would entail.  And the eager acceptance by the Child of the cross and nail foreshadow the obedient acceptance of His suffering by the adult Jesus.




Martino Altomonte, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Austrian, 1737
Ljubljana, Narodna gelerija Slovenije




The next picture is by Martino Altomonte and depicts angels adoring the Holy Family, who are positioned on the steps of a classical building.  One of the pyramids can be seen in the background.  Jesus, shown as a little boy rather than a baby, stands in front of the protective arms of Saint Joseph, while Mary sits on a slightly lower step.  

Above them, in the sky, is a glory of clouds and angels surrounding God the Father who leans upon the globe of the world and points downward to where the dove of the Holy Spirit hovers above the earthly scene.  

This is an incorporation of the iconographic type called The Two Trinities, of which the central figure is Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and the cause of the earthly Holy Family.  It also stresses St. Joseph's role in the earthly family as the human stand in for the Heavenly Father.




Pompeo Batoni, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, c.1740-1749
Dundee, Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)




The third picture is by Pompeo Batoni.  It shows the sleeping Mother and Child, seated on a portion of a ruined building.  Jesus holds a small cross in His hand.  He is cradled by Mary, who is also asleep, watched over by Saint Joseph.  At the right of the picture are two angels, one with hands crossed in adoration, the other swinging a thurible and incensing the sleeping Mother and Child, just as the consecrated Host is incensed during Mass. 


Corrado Giaquinto. Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1764-1765
Detroit, Institute of Arts












The final picture makes the connection with the Eucharist even clearer.  This is a picture by Corrado Giaquinto, painted in 1764 as part of a series of scenes from the life of Mary for the sacristy at the church of the Franciscan Minims of San Luigi di Palazzo, the royal monastery in Naples, and now in the Detroit Institute of Art.1




Unfortunately, the only color photo I could find of this image was stamped with a college library stamp.  A slightly different variation, probably a preparatory sketch, is in a private collection and can give a less obstructed view of the main scene.  
Corrado Giaquinto, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, ca. 1764
Private Collection









At the center of the picture Mary holds the Child (a toddler in this instance) to support Him as He stands on a slab which bears a resemblance to an altar in a church.  With her right hand she gestures to Him with the same gesture used in the Hodegetria type of image for the Mary as Mother of God, "She who shows the Way".2

Behind Him angels hold up a fringed white cloth of state that itself bears a resemblance to an altar covering. The cloth cuts off our view of the background and focuses our attention on the figure of the Child. An indication of a radiance, emanating from Him, is suggestive of a sunburst monstrance, a type of receptacle in which the consecrated Host is displayed to the faithful for Eucharistic Adoration. Angels kneel at the left side of the painting, their gaze fixed on the Holy Child. One of them holds a thurible, ready to incense the Child, just as the Host in the monstrance is incensed during Adoration. Saint Joseph kneels in adoration at the right side of the painting. The reference to Eucharistic Adoration could hardly be clearer.3


Thus we can see that it is with good reason that so many images of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt were produced over the centuries, as the image can carry so many diverse meanings.

Nicholas Mynheer, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
English, 2003
Oxford (UK), Brookes University


© M. Duffy, 2017
________________________________
  1. See Irene Cioffi, “Corrado Giaquinto's ‘Rest on the Flight into Egypt’", Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Vol. 58, No. 1 (1980), pp. 4-13.
  2.  See: http://imaginemdei.blogspot.com/2017/01/mary-mother-of-god.html
  3. See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharistic_adoration  and https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/15518/Eucharistic-adoration-A-treasure-of-the-Faith.aspx

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Part II of 3


Laurent de La Hyre, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
French, 1648
Louisville, Speed Art Museum

As we have seen in the previous essay, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Part I, by the period around 1500 the subject of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt was well enough established to begin to move beyond strict adherence to its specifically Biblical and apocryphal sources.  



Just Resting

In many works of art, the Holy Family is seen to be simply resting.  They may be seated on the ground, or under a tree, or finding shelter in ruined buildings (the latter carries with it a reference to the end of the old order, which is to be transformed by the Infant Jesus).  






Parmigianino, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, c.1523-1525
London, Courtauld Gallery



As happened in paintings of the Flight into Egypt itself, artists frequently set the Rest on the Flight amid landscape, which sometimes dwarfed the figures of the Holy Family at rest as it had in motion.

Cornelys Massys, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, c.1540-1545
Madrid, Museo del Prado

Pieter Lastman, Rest on Flight into Egypt
Dutch, c.1600
Berlin, Gemaeldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

Abraham Bloemaert, Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Dutch, c.1605-1610
Utrecht, Centraal Museum
Jan Brueghel the Elder, Forest Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, 1607
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum

Peter van der Borcht, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, c.1618
Brighton_Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries























 
Cornelis van Poelenburch, Rest on Flight into Egypt
Dutch, 1640-1650
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts









Cornelis van Poelenburgh, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Dutch, c.1640
Cambridge (MA), Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University
















Laurent de la Hyre, Rest on Flight into Egypt
French, 1641
Nantes, Musee des Beaux-Arts
Laurent de La Hire, Holy Family in Landscape
with Antique Ruins
French, After 1641
Berlin, Gemaeldegalerie der Staatliche Museen zu Berlin



























Claude Lorrain, Landscape with the Rest on Flight into Egypt
French, 1647
Dresden, Gemaeldegalerie

Rembrandt, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Dutch, 1647
Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland

Bernard Fuckerad, Rest on Flight into Egypt
German, before 1662
Cologne, Church of the Assumption












Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Spanish, c.1665
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum

Giambattista Pittoni, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1725-1726
Pedralbes, Fundacion Coleccion Thyssen-Bornemisza

Paul Delaroche, Rest on the Flight
into Egypt
French, 1844
London, Wallace Collection






















Resting Activities

As part of this more independent strain of interpretation other symbols, activities and attributes began to be added to engage the Holy Family.   Among them are:

Feeding the Baby – The earliest of these images show a quiet scene in which Mary feeds Jesus, while Joseph rests or tends to the donkey.
Gerard David, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, c. 1500
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten

Gerard David, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, c.1500
Oslo, Nasjonalmuseet

























Orazio Gentileschi, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italisn, 1622-1628
Vienna_Kunstshistorisches Museum
Noel Halle, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
French, 1755-1760
Private Collection

Jacob More, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Scottish, c.1780
Private Collection

Reading -  This activity, a sign of a certain amount of available leisure and therefore conveying the idea of rest, is primarily engaged in by Saint Joseph, occasionally by Mary and also occasionally by Jesus.   It is also a reference to the Old Testament writings which predicted or prefigured the coming of the Messiah. 

Andrea del Sarto, Madonna del Sacco
Italian, 1525
Florence, Church of Santissima Annunziata
Francesco Albani, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, c.1610
Private Collection

Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, Rest on the Flight
into Egypt
Italian, 17th Century
Nantes, Musee des Beaux-Arts

























Pierre Puget, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
French, 1662-1663
Private Collection


Aert de Gelder, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Dutch, c. 1690
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
























Listening to Music – What is perhaps the most famous image of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt is that painted by Caravaggio around 1596.  
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1596-1597
Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilii
In this picture we see Mary cuddling the sleeping Child to the right while Joseph, seated at the left, holds music for the angel who stands at the center of the painting, his back to us, as he plays a viol or violin.   

Other pictures show angelic orchestras serenading the Child and His Mother. 

Arcangelo Salimbeni, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1571-1572
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum
Carlo Saraceni, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1606
Frascati, Eremo dei Camaldolesi


Playing – Occasionally, some artists depicted the Christ Child as playing with angels or with butterflies or birds.  Butterflies are usually considered to refer to the Resurrection, since they emerge for the cocoons of their larval stage through a process that resembles death and resurrection.  Birds often refer to the souls of the Blessed, freed from their earthbound existence.1

Albrecht Altdorfer, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
German, 1510
Berlin, Gemaeldegalerie der Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Parmigianino, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1524
Madrid, Museo del Prado





















Maerten van Heemskerck, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Dutch, c.1530
Washington (DC), National Gallery of Art
Anthony van Dyck, Rest on the Flight into Egypt, known as the Madonna with the Partridges
Flemish, 1630-1632
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum
Antoine Watteau, The Holy Family (Rest on the Flight into Egypt)
French, 1719
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum


Lambs – The infant Saint John the Baptist is often shown in proximity to a lamb, which is one of his attributes, based on his adult declaration that the adult Jesus is the “lamb of God”.  However, in a few cases lambs also appear in images of the Rest when John is not there.  
Anonymous, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, c.1620
Enniskillen (NI), Castle Coole, National Trust

Angelo Caroselli, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Italian, 1630-1645
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica






















Whenever they do appear, however, they are references to the same idea, that Jesus is the sacrificial, pure Lamb of God.


Arriving in Egypt

A few images show the Holy Family arriving in Egypt and surrounded with elements of Egyptian civilization, as it was known at the time in which that particular work was painted.  Thus the earliest images in this group are quite fanciful and imagine Egypt as being similar to contemporary Europe. One can see, through these paintings, the growing level of awareness of Egyptian civilization and art. Thus the images made in the later years of the nineteenth century are archaeological in character, reflecting the greatly increased knowledge of Egyptian civilization.  
The Holy Family Arrives in Egypt with the Fall of the
Egyptian Idols
from the Salzburger Missal
German (Regensburg), 15th Century
Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
MS BSB Clm 15708, fol. 90v

Nicolas Poussin, The Holy Family in Egypt
French, 1655-1657
St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum

Jan Frans van Bloemen, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Flemish, c.1690
Private Collection

Jan van Huysum, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Dutch, c.1700-1749
Peterborough (UK), Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery
Luc Olivier Merson, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
French, 1879
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
Edwin Long, Anno Domini, The Arrival of the Holy Family in Egypt
English, 1883
Bournemouth (UK), Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

James Tissot, The Sojourn in Egypt
French, 1886-1894
New York, Brooklyn Museum

Glyn Warren Philpot, Rest on the Flight into Egypt
English, 1922
London, Tate Britain


































The very latest of this kind of image that I could find, from the 1920s, reflects early twentieth-century artistic movements and is a return to a kind of symbolic world view. As the Holy Family lie asleep on the ground beside a fallen statue, they are observed, not by angels, but by mythical creatures from Roman and Egyptian religions. There are centaurs, a faun and a dark and ominous sphinx.




To Be Continued....

© M. Duffy, 2017
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  1. See:  George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, New York, Oxford University Press, 1961, which is still the standard work on this subject.