The Holy Family

Object Details


The Holy Family


Giulio Romano (Giulio Pippi) (Italian, before 1499 - 1546)




Italy (Place created)


about 1520 - 1523


Oil (possibly mixed with tempera) on panel


77.5 x 61.9 cm (30 1/2 x 24 3/8 in.)

See more

See less

Giulio Romano set Christ and John the Baptist's first meeting on the day of the traditional Jewish purification ceremony, forty days after John the Baptist's birthday. The meaning of this enigmatic painting is unclear, and it has been known by several titles. At right a woman carries a basket with two turtledoves, the required offering of the poor. After the purification ceremony, at which the priest recognized Christ's destiny, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus visited her cousin Elizabeth and John the Baptist, Elizabeth's son. Precociously, Jesus opens a book, showing that his birth signaled the debut of a new era. The scroll, one of the Baptist's attributes, reads Ecce Agnus Dei(Behold the lamb of God).

As Raphael's most important protégé, Giulio adapted Raphael's late style in the darkly evocative landscape and these tightly interlocked figures and idealized female faces. Features typical of Giulio's work include the metallic palette, muscular figures with heavy features, and lively details such as the dog dashing out the doorway at left and the all'antica landscape at right.


Vincenzo Spinola (Genoa, Italy), sold to Andrew Wilson.


Andrew Wilson, sold to William Waldegrave.

- 1825

William Waldegrave, first baron Radstock, 1753 - 1825 (London, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1825 - 1826

Estate of William Waldegrave, first baron Radstock, 1753 - 1825 [sold, Radstock sale, Christie's, London, May 13, 1826, lot 47, to George Byng M.P., for £ 934.10.]

1826 - 1847

George Byng M.P., 1764 - 1847 (Wrotham Park, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1847.

1847 - 1994

Heirs of George Byng M.P., 1764 - 1847 (Wrotham Park, England) [sold, Christie's, London, December 9, 1994, lot 37, to Simon Dickinson Inc. (New York).]

1994 - 1995

Simon Dickinson, Inc. (New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995.

British Institution 1828 (1828) (Cat. 53)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, (London), 1828
British Institution 1836 (1836) (Cat. 6)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, (London), 1836
Roma e lo stile classico di Raffaello 1515-1527 (March 21 to September 5, 1999) (Cat. 181)
  • Centro Internazionale d'Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te, (Mantua), March 21 to May 30, 1999
  • Albertina, (Vienna), June 23 to September 5, 1999
The Art of Papal Rome (May 29 to September 6, 2009) (Cat. 20)
  • National Gallery of Canada, (Ottawa), May 29 to September 6, 2009
Late Raphael (June 12, 2012 to January 14, 2013) (67)
  • Museo del Prado, (Madrid), June 12 to September 16, 2012
  • Musée du Louvre, (Paris), October 8, 2012 to January 14, 2013
Related Media
  • /
    Audio: The Holy Family