EVERDINGEN, Caesar van
(b. 1617, Alkmaar, d. 1678, Alkmaar)

Holy Family

c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 129 x 105 cm
Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht

In this painting Van Everdingen envisaged and achieved a monumental and majestic effect. The Virgin is seated broadly and holds the half-naked infant on her lap. Mother and child are portrayed 'en face', and both gaze intently in our direction. Joseph on the left is eclipsed by the two protagonists. He sits at an angle facing them, on a seat lower than the Virgin's. He looks up and focuses on a point somewhere outside the picture, as if reflecting on the words he has just read in the open book on his lap. He holds his reading glasses absent-mindedly and is clearly lost in thought. The portrayal of Joseph as a young and vigorous man, in contrast to the traditional elderly figure, is in line with the dictates of Counter-Reformationist principles.