The Dream of St. Joseph

Francisco Rizi (Spanish, 1608-1685)

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In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court.

The artist’s forceful draftsmanship, fluid brushwork, and radiant color exemplify the most important tendencies of late Baroque painting in Madrid.

Rizi was born in Spain, the son of a Bolognese painter who worked for Philip II at the royal complex of El Escorial. In 1656 Rizi became royal painter to Philip IV. He was also a stage designer.

Granados Collection, Madrid, Spain, until 2002;{1}
(Whitfield Fine Art Ltd., London, England);
acquired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2006.

{1} According to Clovis Whitfield, prior to its export in 2003, the painting has always been in Spain (Ministerio de Educación y Cultura Permiso de Exportación, n. 682/2002).

Object Information

Francisco Rizi (Spanish, 1608-1685)
creation date
about 1665
oil on canvas
66 x 45-1/4 in. (canvas)
69-1/2 x 48 x 1-3/4 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Inscribed in brown paint, lower right: RIÇI, PICT, | REGI
accession number
credit line
Anonymous Art Fund in memory of Louisa A. Vonnegut Peirce
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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