The Flight into Egypt

Carlo Maratti Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 640

In 1661 Pope Alexander VII Chigi commissioned an altarpiece representing the Flight into Egypt from Maratti for the Cappella del Voto in the Duomo in Siena. The artist’s early biographer Giovanni Pietro Bellori underscored his success, stating that the pope “wished to have a little painting of it on copper for his chamber, which the same Carlo completed with diligence.” Maratti’s innovative treatment, with its anecdotal conceit of Mary handing Christ to Joseph, subsequently led to confusion: the eighteenth-century art historian Horace Walpole, among others, mistakenly assumed Joseph was Saint Christopher, who had safely carried the infant Christ across a river.

The Flight into Egypt, Carlo Maratti (Italian, Camerano 1625–1713 Rome), Oil on copper

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