Saint Joseph and the Christ Child

Artist: Attributed to Nicolaas van der Veken (Flemish, Mechelen 1637–1709 Mechelen)

Date: second half 17th century

Culture: Flemish, Malines (Mechelen)

Medium: Boxwood

Dimensions: Overall: 10 11/16 × 4 13/16 × 2 5/16 in. (27.1 × 12.2 × 5.9 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Miniature

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1971

Accession Number: 1971.68


In the Baroque era the Jesuits promoted the veneration of Christ's earthly father as an active, youthful parent and regarded him as a model to be imitated by husbands and fathers. Artists were encouraged to help the faithful imagine aspects of Joseph's life missing from the scant descriptions in the Gospels, such as this elegantly tender portrayal of him protecting the Child.