The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

The figures of the Holy Family sought to establish ways of behaving in the colonial period. Join us and discover more details on this topic

By Santa Clara Museum

Baltasar Vargas de Figueroa (attributed)

Rest on the Flight into Egypt (17th Century) by Atributted to Baltasar Vargas de FigueroaSanta Clara Museum

According to Matthew’s Gospel, Herod, fearful of being dethroned by the future king of the Jews, ordered the execution of children under the age of two.

Knowing this, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to save the child Jesus. This episode is known as the Massacre of the Innocents.

In some apocryphal gospels, facts related to this flight were narrated, so that in the American territory, from the Council of Trent (1545-1563) until 18th century, the flight was represented on numerous occasions, with great reception among the population.

The Holy Family became an example of a nuclear family and it was depicted in images as this one. With them it was sought to establish behaviors that, according to the provisions of the Church, New Granada society should imitate.

Mary, by carrying Jesus in her arms, assumes her role as mother and wife. Represented inside the tent we see how, according to these models, woman was destined to remain in private spaces, take care of the children, and perform household chores.

Saint Joseph, on the other hand, is outdoors. With his left hand, he holds a hat; with the right one, an apple.

This last element refers to the productive work it was expected from the father, being he responsible for ensuring the sustenance of his family.

This work depicts the scene in a fantastic-like or idyllic-like way, since it shows the members of the Holy Family fully focused on their family roles, without any fear or concern of being overtaken by the king’s men.

Although it is not clear that the central figures of the image have a celestial nature, since they lack attributes that identify them as such, to the left of the image, we see two child angels, messengers of God, that accompany the scene from above.

Towards the bottom of the image is the donkey with which the Virgin and Child are usually portrayed during their flight. In this case, the animal only accompanies the scene.

Credits: Story


Museum Director
María Constanza Toquica Clavijo

María Alejandra Malagón Quintero

Anamaría Torres Rodríguez
María Isabel Téllez Colmenares

Collection Management
Paula Ximena Guzmán López

Tanit Barragán Montilla

Jhonatan Chinchilla Pérez

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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