Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 15771640)
Oil on canvas; 69 1/2 x 82 1/8 in. (176.5 x 208.6 cm)
Gift of James Henry Smith, 1902 (02.24)
The subject is treated with the familial warmth typical of the artist's mature religious scenes. Probably dating from the early 1630s, the painting was considerably modified by Rubens himself: the Virgin was originally seated nearly in profile, Saint Joseph leaned over the back of the chair, and the lower half of Saint Francis was more central (his attribute, the lamb, was added during the revision). Versions of the composition are at Windsor and elsewhere. The picture was probably executed with the help of assistants.