Jan Lievens 1607 – 1674

The Visitation

oil on canvas (280 × 198 cm) — 1638-40 Museum Musée du Louvre, Paris

Jan Lievens biography

This work is linked to Luke 1:40

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Pregnant Mary visits her elder cousin Elisabeth, who was about to give birth to John the Baptist. Their husbands Joseph and Zacharias are also present. A servant watches on.

Elisabeth's wide sleeve forms the lower half of an imaginary circle. The circle adds intimacy to the women's greeting.

Lievens painted this large altarpiece during his stay in Antwerp (1635-1644) for a Jesuit church in Brussels. Irony has it that Lievens' parents had fled the southern Netherlands out of fear for persecution by the catholic church. Just a few decades later, Jan had no problem with working for the catholics.

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