PCPF eng - Culture
Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Holy Family (oil on canvas, 1645). St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum © 2011. Foto Scala, Florence

 In a room immersed in darkness, there is a workshop and a sitting room with tools, chairs and a little stove for heating. On a diagonal from the left, a light from heaven with a stream of little angels pours out over Mary and the Child, the light of revelation. In meditating on the Old Testament, Mary found a text that foretells her son’s sorrowful destiny. With apprehension she turns toward him and raises the curtain to keep watch over him. The Baby Jesus sleeps calmly in his cradle, but his bright red cover alludes to his blood that will be shed, and the wicker basket evokes the tomb where he will be laid. The first little angel opens its arms in the form of a cross. The yoke that Joseph is modelling in the background makes us think of the yoke that Jesus will bear to save us. The mystery of the cross is already present in the Holy Family of Nazareth’s ordinary life, but it also extends to the lives of other families, as the artist’s clear references suggest: furnishings and utensils from his time, his wife’s portrait in the figure of Our Lady, the allusion to his dead children in the little angels and to his most recently born child in the Baby Jesus.
Ennio Card. Antonelli

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