The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist

Nicolas Poussin French

Not on view

Poussin returned to the subject of the Holy Family throughout his career. During his early years in Rome, he was especially interested in Venetian painting, studying Titian’s great mythological compositions, especially the Bacchanals, from which he took inspiration for the fruit-gathering cherubs and the landscape in this painting. The family group sits under an apple tree with a grape vine twisting around it. A lone apple sits centrally on a shroudlike blanket at the foot of the composition. As symbols of salvation, apples connect Christ to Adam through a passage from the Song of Solomon (2:3). Grapes are associated with the Eucharist and the lamb with redemption.

The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist, Nicolas Poussin (French, Les Andelys 1594–1665 Rome), Oil on canvas

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