Oil on canvas
Framed: 159.5 x 124 x 14.5 cm (62 13/16 x 48 13/16 x 5 11/16 in.); Unframed: 134 x 99 cm (52 3/4 x 39 in.)
Gift of the Hanna Fund 1953.156
When King Herod learned that he would lose his throne to a child born in Bethlehem, he ordered all male infants to be massacred. Mary and Joseph thus fled to Egypt to protect their son, Jesus. The age of the boy in this painting suggests that Poussin depicted the less-common subject of the Holy Family’s return from Egypt. Jesus reaches toward a vision of a cross borne by angels, a reference to both his eventual crucifixion and Herod’s cruel slaughter of innocent children.
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