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ID number:  BIRBI-67.3
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Biscaino, Bartolommeo (1632-1657)
Title / Object name:  Holy Family
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Europe: Italy, Liguria, Genoa
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  about 1655-56
Materials:  Etching
Measurements:  Plate: 180 x 180 mm; mount 557 x 404 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Christopher Mendez, March 1967, for £24

Mary lovingly clutches the young Christ, who stands upright in her lap as he turns his head to look at his father, Joseph. Biscaino’s delicate handling of the medium of etching is particularly evident in his use of chiaroscuro, the contrast between light and shadow. His lightness of touch creates a charming, idyllic scene which avoids excessive symbolism. Rather than foreshadowing the sacrifice to come, the work captures a tender and playful family moment. This etching is one of the fifty produced during Biscaino’s short life, many of which depicted scenes of the Holy Family.

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Biscaino, Bartolommeo
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