GUARDI, Gianantonio
(b. 1699, Wien, d. 1760, Venezia)

The Death of Joseph

Oil on canvas, 139 x 76 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The only certain work by Gianantonio is the Death of St Joseph: this was thought to have been destroyed in 1945, but reappeared in 1965.

New religious subjects were established or popularised as a result of the Counter-Reformstion. Joseph had long been a figure of fun, but no longer. He was now cast as the father figure of the Terrestrial Unity completed by Mary and Jesus. Invested with fresh dignity, Joseph's death became a newly important subject for devotional art and thought, and he was venerated as patron saint of a good death.

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