European Art: 14th-16th Centuries

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The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, after 1510

Vincenzo Catena

Italian, c.1470-1531
Oil on panel
overall: 32 x 43 in. (81.3 x 109.2 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.2008.2.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Like many artists from the Veneto, in North-Eastern Italy, Catena frequently portrayed The Holy Family seated in an extensive landscape. Such a setting provided the necessary context to their journey, while reflecting the growing taste among painters and patrons for imagery of the landscape. Here, the serene, idealized version of the Venetian landscape has equal weight with the genre-like figures: St. Joseph dozes quietly while the Madonna and Child provide the sole element of psychological interaction as they sit in mutual awareness. The painting is dated after 1510 when Catena’s forms became softer, more ample, and luminous. This change is likely due to the welcome influences of Giovanni Bellini and Titian.

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