Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist (Mantegna)
|Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist|
|Medium||tempera on canvas|
|Dimensions||71 cm × 50.5 cm (28 in × 19.9 in)|
|Location||National Gallery, London|
The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist is a tempera on canvas painting measuring 71 cm by 50.5 cm. It is attributed to Andrea Mantegna, dated to around 1500 and now held in the National Gallery, London. Its poor conservation means that some scholars do not directly attribute it to Mantegna, though its idea and format definitely refer to autograph works by him.
The parapet on which the Christ Child and the infant John the Baptist stand also encloses the Virgin, referring to her Immaculate Conception or to the hortus conclusus of her virginity. John holds a scroll and points to Christ, who holds a sphere representing his earthly power. In the background is saint Joseph in a red cloak.
The Madonna and Child in the work are identical to those in the same painter's Holy Family with Christ as Imperator mundi in the Petit Palais in Paris. He produced several similar small-format works for private devotion during this period, of which the best is perhaps the Holy Family with Saints Anne and John the Baptist (Dresden), though the London work's background of fruit and foliage is also reminiscent of his Madonna della Vittoria (1496) and his Altman Madonna (c.1495-1505).