CARRARI, Baldassare
(b. ca. 1460, Forli, d. 1516, Forli)

The Holy Family with an Angel

c. 1485
Oil on panel, 71 x 47 cm
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

The subject of this painting is the celebration of Christ's birth, although the infant Christ, who stands in his mother's lap, seems much older than a newborn. The ass and ox on the left are traditional witnesses of Christ's birth in the Bethlehem stable. The procession in the background signals a later event: the arrival of the wise men from the East to pay homage to the Messiah. The painting is spectacular for its many plant and animal details, each with a specific symbolic significance.