Rest of the Virgin during the Flight into Egypt Lucas Cranach Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Rest of the Virgin During the Flight Into Egypt is an oil on panel religious painting that was executed in 1504 by a German Renaissance painter called Lucas Cranach. The painting measures 70.7 x 53 centimetres and is located at Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

In the painting, the Virgin (Mary) has settled down so that she can rest in a piece of grassland located on the edge of an area covered with trees and undergrowth. Supported by her, Jesus is reaching out for the strawberries offered by an angel. Another angel is bringing a bird while a third one is drawing water from the nearby spring. Other angels are sitting on the grass while making music. Jesus' legal father, Joseph, is standing behind the group holding his hat and other items; he seems to be on guard.

The Holy Family representation - who have paused their journey in a summer landscaped - has often been interpreted as a romantic theme. Although the poetic tones of this incident have a sense of romanticism effect in the observer, the importance of the details shouldn't be overlooked. The details are rooted in the traditional Middle Age symbolism. The primrose and the pure water flowing out the spring are a Marian symbol. Strawberries were considered a divine fruit while the exotic bird is a symbol of paradise. Two other plants, fumitory and columbine, should be noted with regard to the Virgin and Child. In folk tradition, fumitory had a significance when it comes to the choice of the bridegroom and bride.

The artist treatment of landscape is unique as he created a magical fairy-tale ambience, marking a new approach to nature in the way people painted in Europe. Cranach decided to embark upon a revolutionary course. The first 5 years of the 16th century, marks the artist as one of the most advanced German painters of that era. This painting helped Cranach to win a notable position. The artist painted several portraits including one of the wives of Dr Reus, a Viennese scholar, executed in 1503 and located in the Berlin Gallery. Rest of the Virgin During the Flight Into Egypt was inspired by Europe's Danube landscape. This same region inspired two other landscape painters from Germany (Wolf Huber and Albrecht Altdorfer) who went ahead along the path that Lucas Cranach had opened up.

Rest of the Virgin during the Flight into Egypt in Detail Lucas Cranach