World's Best Paintings of the Holy Family


 

 In most paintings of the Holy Family, Jesus is about 1-2 years old, and during this period Jesus' family resided in Alexandria (BC 7 - 4) until King Herod's death and their return to Bethlehem.

   Gemäldegalerie

P.1356 - §3 By the first of October Joseph had convinced Mary and all their friends that it was best for them to return to Nazareth. Accordingly, early in October, 4 B.C., they departed from Bethlehem for Nazareth, going by way of Lydda and Scythopolis. They started out early one Sunday morning, Mary and the child riding on their newly acquired beast of burden, while Joseph and five accompanying kinsmen proceeded on foot; Joseph's relatives refused to permit them to make the trip to Nazareth alone. They feared to go to Galilee by Jerusalem and the Jordan valley, and the western routes were not altogether safe for two lone travelers with a child of tender years.

 

 
Joseph is too old.
 
Scriptures in Codex form were not widely available during that time.

 

Zacharias and Elizabeth look too old.

   Louvre Museum
 
Codex was not widely available. The old man Joseph is not fit to work as a carpenter.

 

Mary's mother Anne (Hanna) looks too young.

 
Joseph is too old to work as a carpenter.

 

The painter depicts the family in Egypt, but boy Jesus is about 5 years old when the family was back in Nazareth. Joseph is too old.

 

Neither Zachary nor Elizabeth followed the family to Egypt.

 

A lamb brings warmth.

 
   Vatican Pinocoteca

 

Joseph is too old to work as a carpenter.

 

The building in the backgroun is awkward. The family is not likely to have lived around a palace in Egypt.

 

Joseph is missing.

 The obelisk in the background indicates the family is in Egypt.
   Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome
 
This painting covers the period of the family's life, probably in Alexandria. Joseph looks too old.

 

Joseph is too old.

   Legion of Honor, San Francisco

 

Baby Jesus' hairstyle is not traditional.

   Detroit Institute of Art

 

Common people in Egypt did not live in houses built with stone.

 

Mary's mother Anne did not accompany the family to Egypt.

   National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

Elizabeth is redundant.

 

The family is not likely to have lived around a palace during their sojourn in Alexandria.

   Hermitage

 

The tools in the background show Joseph is a carpenter, but a codex is out of place.

   Alte Pinacothek, Munich

 

A nice painting. Joseph is working on his bench. The buildings in the backgroun are not Egyptian.

   Chicago Institute of Art

 

Joseph is looking away and awkward. He should be looking at John, if not Jesus. Elizabeth looks too serious. Not a good composition.

   Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

 

Too much action. The holy family is not the focus of the painting.

   Minneapolis Institute of Arts

 

The bird is awkward, and the baby is not looking at the bird.

   Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

Although the painting seems to tell a distorted legend, the description does mention Mary's parents, Joachim and Hannah. Also, the description also mentions that Mary and Elizabeth are (distant) cousins. Joachim and Hannah are mentioned in the Urantia Book, as well as in the Protoevangelium of James or the Gospel of James.

   
#3  Gemäldegalerie

P.1356 - §3 By the first of October Joseph had convinced Mary and all their friends that it was best for them to return to Nazareth. Accordingly, early in October, 4 B.C., they departed from Bethlehem for Nazareth, going by way of Lydda and Scythopolis. They started out early one Sunday morning, Mary and the child riding on their newly acquired beast of burden, while Joseph and five accompanying kinsmen proceeded on foot; Joseph's relatives refused to permit them to make the trip to Nazareth alone. They feared to go to Galilee by Jerusalem and the Jordan valley, and the western routes were not altogether safe for two lone travelers with a child of tender years.

 

 #2  Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome

Pompeo Batoni, 1760

 
This painting covers the period of the family's life, probably in Alexandria. Joseph looks too old.
 #1  Alte Pinacothek, Munich

 

A nice painting. Joseph is working on his bench. The buildings in the backgroun are not Egyptian.