Master of the Parrot 1525 – 1550

The Holy Family

oil on panel (43 × 31 cm) — c. 1530
private collection

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The Holy Family: Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The latter is being breastfed.

There is a lot of Christian symbolism in this panel. Mary holds a cross under her arm: is she aware of Christ's future death on the cross? On the table is an orange, which was sometimes used in stead of an apple. An apple in the hands of Christ is a symbol of redemption: being the fruit of the tree of good and evil it is the symbol of the Original Sin, that Christ would take away.

The crown of thorns and the nails obviously refer to Christ's suffering and death on the cross. The cup may refer to the Last Supper.

The panel was made by an unknown master who was active in Antwerp from 1525 until 1550.

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