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The Holy Family with Angels

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The Holy Family with Angels About 1605

Not on display

The attribution of this sheet to Maganza is based on its stylistic similarities with his other compositional drawings of similar subjects. This drawing shows the Holy Family attended by angels during the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. The subject is a relatively rare one, and derives from an episode that is recorded in the Golden Legend. One of the Angels is shown fastening a makeshift canopy over the figures, while another presents the infant Christ with fruit and a flower. Maganza painted a picture of this subject around 1605 for the church of San Gaetano in Brescia. This drawing may be an early compositional design for that commission, although there are significant differences between this sketch and the painting.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Golden Legend ('Legenda Aurea')

A late medieval text that detailed the events recounted in the Bible. It paid particular attention to the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, as well as examining the lives of the Saints. The Golden Legend was compiled by a Dominican friar called Jacobus de Voragine and completed around 1260. Originally called ‘Legenda Sanctorum’ (Latin for ‘Legends of the Saints’) it gained the title ‘Golden Legend’ because of its popularity. The text was translated into numerous languages and was published many times following the introduction of the printing press in the fifteenth century. The Golden Legend became an important source for artists dealing with religious subjects, and it was popular because it was so accessible.

Commission, Composition, Golden Legend ('Legenda Aurea')


  • Acc. No. D 3110
  • Medium Pen, brown ink and wash with traces of black chalk on paper, laid down
  • Size 25.30 x 19.70 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881