A relief sculpture depicting the Holy Family or the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. In the centre of the composition, the Virgin is sitting outdoors on a surface that presents some tufts of vegetation, holding in her right hand a cloth with which she seems to be covering the Child Jesus, sleeping with his head resting against the Virgin, who is holding his hand. Beside them is St. Joseph, meditating and holding a book.
Very probably produced in Italy, this high-quality low-relief carving seems to be a simplified variation (probably dating from the 18th century) of the now lost original work by Alessandro Algardi (Bologna, 1598 – Rome, 1654), of which there are known to exist 19 variations and/or copies made of bronze, marble and other materials. It has the particularity of being very similar, from the point of view of both its composition and execution, to the copy that is believed to be closest to the original, made by Edwardus Le Davis, and which is housed in the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia in Rome (see Teresa Leonor M. VALE, “A presença de obras de arte italiana em Portugal: contributos para a difusão de modelos. Uma variação da Sagrada Família de Alessandro Algardi, no Palácio Nacional de Sintra”, in População e Sociedade. A Matriz Italiana na Arte Luso-Brasileira, Porto, CEPESE-Edições Afrontamento, Nº 19, 2012).