When King Herod learned from the Three Kings that he would lose his throne to a newborn in Bethlehem, he ordered a massacre of infant boys. Mary and Joseph thus fled to Egypt to protect their son, Jesus. However, the age of the boy suggests that this painting depicts the more unusual subject of the family’s return. His vision of the cross refers to both his eventual crucifixion and the slaughter of the innocent children. However, the expressions on the faces of Mary and Joseph, as well as how the toddler reaches out to the cross, implies that they all accept his fate: Mary, regretfully; Joseph, stoically; and Jesus, joyfully.