The Holy Family Meeting the Infant St John the Baptist ('The Madonna del Passeggio')

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About this artwork

The title means the Madonna of the promenade, and was probably inspired by the way Mary and the Christ Child appear to have met the infant Saint John the Baptist while walking in the countryside. Joseph looks on from the middle distance. The scene recalls popular stories of Saint John's youth, in which he and Christ first meet as children when the Holy Family is returning from Egypt. The young Saint's animal skin tabard, wooden cross and scroll refer to his adult roles as preacher in the desert and baptizer of Christ. The painting, which illustrates a close study of Raphael's figure types, may be by his assistant Gianfrancesco Penni.

Updated before 2020

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