Oil on canvas
Framed: 95.9 x 96.6 x 10.8 cm (37 3/4 x 38 1/16 x 4 1/4 in.); Diameter: 68.5 cm (26 15/16 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1967.123
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (called il Guercino) created Rest on the Flight to Egypt as a tondo, a circular canvas rarely used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries except in the case of holy subjects. The round shape represents the circle, symbolic for the nature of God, believed to have no end and no beginning. The painting depicts Mary the Mother of God, the Infant Christ, St. Joseph, and a musical angel, serenading the Holy Family during their exhausting journey through Egypt. Guercino, "the squint-eyed", was born near Bologna and became an influential painter in Rome in the early seventeenth century, where he created important commissions. His style was an important mix of the strong use of tenebrism, introduced by Caravaggio, and artists of the classical baroque, such as Domenichino, Annibale Carracci, and Guido Reni. The composition is clearly composed with strongly modeled forms and a cool harmony of colors. The sleeping Infant Christ is lulled to sleep by the angel's violin and the ideal landscape with classical ruins adds to the calm serenity of this painting.
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