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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Italian, 1575 - 1642
Saint Joseph and the Christ Child
Oil on canvas

35 x 28 1/2 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Rienzi Collection
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III

Arts of Europe

Guido Reni was the most famous Italian painter of his day, revered for the grace and naturalness of his serenely balanced compositions he was even referred to as “the divine Guido.”

Working during the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century, Reni depicted images of saints and holy figures in the humanized and accessible form Catholic leaders required. This intimate portrayal of Joseph demonstrates Reni´s skill through his rendering of the foster father of Christ as a simple man tenderly holding his infant son. The fruit held by the infant Jesus is a reminder to the viewer of both the fall of man in Eden as well as the fruitfulness of redemption through the advent of Christianity.