The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist

Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 609

Florentine by birth, Perino was trained in Raphael’s workshop in Rome, where he soon became one of the most inventive artists of his generation. This is a rare, early devotional painting. It includes traditional symbols such as the goldfinch (symbolic of the Resurrection), but also more unusual details, especially a young Saint John the Baptist who is crowned with grape leaves and wears a leopard skin, attributes of the pagan god Bacchus who, like John, was associated with rebirth. The care that Perino invested in this panel is especially evident in the vivid features of the infant Christ, which may derive from his study of an actual child.

The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) (Italian, Florence 1501–1547 Rome), Oil on wood

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