Image Resources | Currently on View in William L. and Jane H. Fortune Gallery (H214)
Claude was in his early thirties when he painted this picture. He had long since left his native Lorraine and established himself in Rome as a painter of landscapes, a newly emerging genre. His views of the Roman countryside were admired for their golden light and sensitive rendering of atmospheric effects.
This work represents the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt to escape Herod's persecution. The peacefulness of the setting provides a sharp contrast to the violent massacre they have fled. The infant Jesus holds the donkey's reins, a precocious action that may symbolize his divine nature and the role of providence in the family's safekeeping.