“St. Joseph and the Infant Christ”

Giovanni Battisti Gaulli, called Baciccio "St. Joseph and the Infant Christ" c. 1670-1685. Oil on canvas.
Giovanni Battisti Gaulli, called Baciccio “St. Joseph and the Infant Christ” c. 1670-1685. Oil on canvas.

 

Today I spent the afternoon meandering around the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena with my Mom. She ties with Jony as being my favorite museum buddy 🙂 We of course took in the Van Gogh portrait that is currently there on loan, as well as all my standard favorites from this eloquent little museum. (It’s perfect if your looking for a 2-3 hour trip and not looking for being on your feet all day!) While most of our time was spent in the 19th and 20th century wing, we made sure to take in the Rembrandt’s, the Goyas, and the Fragonards (they look like frosting! – that will have to be a post soon…). Tucked away in a corner, I found this gem – a work I’ve somehow never seen in my (many) trips. What makes this painting rare is its subject matter. I’m sure we can all imagine a dozen paintings about the Madonna and Child, but this is the very first that I have seen exclusively of Joseph and baby Jesus. How tender this moment –  Joseph’s eyes  full of love and awe. How overwhelmed he must have felt for being ordained as Christ’s ‘earthly’ father. Have you every really stopped to consider what it must have felt like to hold in your hands a child that defies all reason; that was miraculously conceived – to literally hold one third of the Trinity in your hands? Amazing! Baciccio would be classified as working in the Baroque style – and you can tell this by the drama, the swirling garments, deeply folded, ready to wrap the two figures up in their bright warm hues contrasted against a dark dramatic background. It is the perfect way, I think, to capture such an intimate and yet defining moment in Joseph’s life.

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2 thoughts on ““St. Joseph and the Infant Christ”

  1. The moment I saw this painting at The Norton Simon I knew this was the perfect painting for my Art project. I have never seen this subject matter in any other painting. This is genuine love between a father and son.

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