(b. 1568, Arpino, d. 1640, Roma)
The Rest on the Flight into Egyptc. 1597
Oil on copper, 43 x 32 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
In the studio of Cavaliere d'Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari), one of the most influential artist in Rome during the pontificate of Clement VIII, painters from northern Europe were numerous. From this Cavaliere d'Arpino probably derived his inclination for painting religious scenes in a landscape. He produced delicate devotional paintings on copper or panel on a very small scale. In them, his lives of the saints or biblical episodes were enriched by imaginative additions. The Rest on the Flight into Egypt depicts the moment when a palm tree bends down at the request of the Christ Child so that Joseph can pick the dates that Mary has asked for. This miraculous event adds a touch of familiarity and intimacy to the well-known story of the Holy Family's flight.