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The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with St. John the Baptist
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Fra Bartolommeo
Italian, Florence, about 1509
Oil on panel
51 x 42 in.
96.PB.15

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The Virgin Mary and Joseph convey a sense of calm as they rest on a golden late summer afternoon, watching as the Christ Child grasps the infant John the Baptist's reed cross. Fra Bartolommeo evokes Christ's Passion in a variety of ways in this painting. The palm tree on the left suggests the palm fronds that would pave Christ's final entry into Jerusalem, while the pomegranate, lying on the ground in front of Mary, is a symbol of his Resurrection. In the background on the right, Fra Bartolommeo represented the family fleeing Bethlehem to avoid King Herod's massacre of the innocents.