The Holy Family


Artist
Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669)
Date
1632; 17th century impression
Medium
Etching
Dimensions
Sheet : 3 3/4 x 2 3/4 in. (9.53 x 6.99 cm)
Credit Line
The Sarah and Grace Collection
Object Number
2018.8.10

Label
Throughout his life, Rembrandt made sketches of ordinary people he encountered in the course of his daily activities. He then used these sketches as models for many of the figures that appear in his prints and paintings. This etching depicting the Holy Family illustrates Rembrandt’s prodigious ability to observe and record the mundane details of everyday life. It shows Mary nursing the baby Jesus in the foreground while Joseph leans against a wall in the background reading a book. There are no haloes, angels or other signs of the Christ child’s divinity. Instead, Rembrandt has captured the moment when Jesus seems to be nodding off after his feed and the slightly disheveled, tired-looking Mary—who has kicked off her shoes to relieve the pressure on her aching feet—is preparing to return to the sewing basket that stands open beside her.
Label
Throughout his life, Rembrandt made sketches of ordinary people he encountered in the course of his
daily activities. He then used these sketches as models for many of the figures that appear in his
prints and paintings. This etching depicting the Holy Family illustrates Rembrandt’s prodigious ability
to observe and record the mundane details of everyday life. It shows Mary nursing the baby Jesus in
the foreground while Joseph leans against a wall in the background reading a book. There are no
haloes, angels or other signs of the Christ child’s divinity. Instead, Rembrandt has captured the
moment when Jesus seems to be nodding off after his feed and the slightly disheveled, tired-looking
Mary—who has kicked off her shoes to relieve the pressure on her aching feet—is preparing to return
to the sewing basket that stands open beside her.

Object Type
Print