- Gallery Text
The Flemish master Philippe de Champaigne pursued a successful career in France, where he produced altarpieces, devotional images, and portraits, served as first painter to the queen, and was a founding member of the French Academy. The emotional restraint typical of the French classical tradition informs Champaigne’s two devotional pictures: The Virgin Mary, at right (1978.546), and Saint Joseph, at left (1978.545). Both are isolated against a softly lit landscape. Champaigne highlights Joseph’s divinity by replacing his carpentry tools, cast on the ground to his right, with a white lily, denoting the purity of Christ’s conception. Draped in a robe and veil of the same rich palette as her husband’s attire, the Virgin reads a book, which underscores her fidelity to scripture. Forming halos around their heads, the light shining through the clouds behind them reinforces their sacred status. The copper support, which concentrates and clarifies the colors, heightens this effect.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Philippe de Champaigne, French (Brussels 1602 - 1674 Paris)
- Saint Joseph
- Work Type
- c. 1650
Level 2, Room 2400, European Art, 17th century, Rome and Its Influence in the Seventeenth Century
View this object's location on our interactive map
- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on copper
- 62.6 x 37.5 cm (24 5/8 x 14 3/4 in.)
framed: 84.5 x 59.5 cm (33 1/4 x 23 7/16 in.)
- Anonymous sale, Paris (March 14-15, 1836). Private Collection, France. [Wildenstein & Co, Inc., New York, NY, sold]; to Fogg Art Museum, 1978.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Colonel C. Michael Paul Fund
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- Publication History
Pierre Rosenberg, France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-Century French Paintings in American Collections, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1982), p. 348, fig. 10
Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 102, fig. no. 219
Bernard Dorival, Supplément au catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Philippe de Champaigne, Léonce Laget (Paris, 1992), p. 62, fig. 47
Lorenzo Pericolo, Philippe de Champaigne, La Renaissance du Livre (Tournai, 2002), pp. 257-258, repr.
- Exhibition History
32Q: 2400 French/Italian/Spanish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
- Related Works
This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at email@example.com