Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist Adored by an Unidentified Figure

Bartolomeo Cesiabout 1590s

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

The Virgin, the infants, and an unidentified figure form a pyramid, flanked by Joseph and set against the simple, vertical columns. In his mature style, Bartolomeo Cesi characteristically combined such naturalistic figures with a sober mood and an abstract, geometrical composition. Cesi derived the naturalism of the figures, particularly the infants, from his practice of drawing from life, which the Carracci Academy introduced in Bologna.

Reflecting the ideas of the Counter-Reformation, which zealously advocated against "immorality" in art, Cesi exhibited a rather severe style. He never made his surfaces gleam or embellished them in any way. The Carthusians, Roman Catholicism's most ascetic order, may have influenced Cesi's approach.


  • Title: Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist Adored by an Unidentified Figure
  • Creator: Bartolomeo Cesi
  • Date Created: about 1590s
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 28.9 × 25.7 cm (11 3/8 × 10 1/8 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Black chalk
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 98.GB.1
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Bartolomeo Cesi (Italian, 1556 - 1629)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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