As part of the preparation for our 20 years celebrations, our Chinese Bronzes and Women’s Library collections will be closed from Monday 26 February, reopening with the rest of our new season on Thursday 21 March.

Bernardo Cavillino 1616–1656

The Flight into Egypt

Details

Artist

Bernardo Cavillino 1616–1656

Title

The Flight into Egypt

Date

About 1640-50

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

76. x 63.9 cm (unframed); 97 x 84 cm (framed)

Reference

CVCSC:0224.S

Collection

Naples

Status

On Display

Warned by an angel that King Herod had ordered all infants in Bethlehem to be killed, Joseph ‘rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.’ Following the biblical account, here the Holy Family make their way through a dark forest. While the donkey and the figure of Joseph are lost in the shadows, Cavallino uses a shaft of cool moonlight to illuminate the tender interaction between Mary and Jesus. Cavallino depicts Mary in her iconic red gown enveloped by a rich blue mantle. Joseph is also wearing a blue shirt, which is torn at the elbow to reveal a white undergarment, symbol of his lowly status. He reaches into the palm tree behind them, and may be picking dates. Sold as a work by an ‘Anonymous Italian’, this canvas is placed in the crucial phase of the Bernardo Cavallino’s painting activity, after the early 1640s, which was characterised by formal elegance, theatrical layout, natural light, jewel-like colours, and a restrained rendering of moods. Warned by an angel that King Herod had ordered all infants in Bethlehem to be killed, Joseph ‘rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.’ Following the biblical account, here the Holy Family make their way through a dark forest. While the donkey and the figure of Joseph are lost in the shadows, Cavallino uses a shaft of cool moonlight to illuminate the tender interaction between Mary and Jesus. Cavallino depicts Mary in her iconic red gown enveloped by a rich blue mantle. Joseph is also wearing a blue shirt, which is torn at the elbow to reveal a white undergarment, symbol of his lowly status. He reaches into the palm tree behind them, and may be picking dates. Sold as a work by an ‘Anonymous Italian’, this canvas is placed in the crucial phase of the Bernardo Cavallino’s painting activity, after the early 1640s, which was characterised by formal elegance, theatrical layout, natural light, jewel-like colours, and a restrained rendering of moods. Last updated: Sensing Naples, 2023

Bernardo Cavillino The Flight into Egypt About 1640-50 © Compton Verney