(b. 1585, Roma, d. 1652, Roma)

Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Oil on canvas, 122 x 144 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

In 1692, this painting was mentioned as a work of Caroselli in the inventory of Cardinal Flavio Chigi, nephew of Pope Alexander VII. A highly refined patron of the arts, Flavio Chigi had a predilection for bizarre and picturesque themes. His collection reflected a curiosity towards lay culture that was foreign to the representational collecting of the seventeenth-century "cardinal nephews" up to this point. The Italian state acquired this painting from the Chigi collection in 1918.

The painting depicts the Holy Family's flight into Egypt according to a text from the Apocrypha. Details like the presence of Salome (the midwife of Christ) and the miracle of the palms help locate the precise narrative moment and source. The Rest on the Flight into Egypt is datable to between 1630 and circa 1645, on the basis of the neo-Venetian and Poussinian influences that are evident in the picture. Examples of these include the setting of the scene in a luxuriant landscape and the insertion of a classical sarcophagus at the centre.

One of the fixed points around which Caroselli's career may be reconstructed, this picture dates to before 1645, the year when the painter began to show more of the influence of Filippo Lauri, the landscapist who became his brother-in-law in 1642.