The Holy Family with Mary Magdalen

c. 1590–1595
(Spanish, 1541–1614)
Framed: 160 x 131 x 7.5 cm (63 x 51 9/16 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 130 x 100 cm (51 3/16 x 39 3/8 in.)
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The nearly levitating body of the Christ child further emphasizes the ethereal setting of the Holy Family.

Description

The seemingly weightless figures, the startling color combinations, and the moody, imprecise setting all show El Greco’s interest in conveying the intense spirituality of these figures rather than their concrete reality. Above all, the painting addresses Mary’s role as mediator between Christ and the viewer. She supports her son, but her faraway look indicates awareness of his fate. Mary feeds Jesus fruit held by Joseph that is full of symbolic meaning, with the apple representing the fall of man; cherries, the blood of Christ; peaches, salvation; and pears, the sweetness of Christ’s virtue.
The Holy Family with Mary Magdalen

The Holy Family with Mary Magdalen

c. 1590–1595

El Greco

(Spanish, 1541–1614)
Spain, 16th century

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