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Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Workshop of Joachim Patinir, Netherlandish (active Antwerp), c. 1485 - 1524

Made in Netherlands (historical name, 15th-16th century), Europe

Early 16th century

Oil on panel

18 1/4 x 23 15/16 inches (46.3 x 60.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 317, European Art 1100-1500, third floor

Accession Number:
Cat. 377

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Patinir was one of the first artists to devote greater attention to the landscapes in his paintings than to the religious figures populating them. The broken obelisk at the left symbolizes the falling of pagan idols in the presence of the Christ Child. The field of wheat refers to the legend surrounding the Holy Family's Flight into Egypt to escape the soldiers of Herod. After the family passed a farmer sowing his wheat fields en route, the wheat miraculously grew overnight, and the farmer began harvesting it the next day. When Herod's soldiers came by and asked whether a family with an infant boy had passed, the farmer replied in honesty that they had done so when the wheat was being planted. Thus convinced of some months passing, the soldiers gave up their pursuit.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.