Cavallino painted with the dark tonality fashionable in Naples in the 1630s-40s under the influence of the artists Caravaggio and Jusepe de Ribera. This scene depicts the biblical account that Joseph “rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt” when he was warned by an angel that King Herod had ordered all infants in Bethlehem to be killed. Brightly lit, Mary and Jesus are seated on a tired donkey, whilst Joseph can just be made out in the background.
Bernardo Cavillino The Flight into Egypt About 1640-50 © Compton Verney
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