Pier Francesco Mola, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Mid-17th century
Oil on copper
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993.20

From Matthew 2:13-14 and two apocryphal sources, the Protevangelium of James and the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. The latter tells of a rest on the journey in which the child performs miracles that provide the family with fruit to eat and a stream from which to draw water (chapter xx). In Mola's painting the fruit has been laid out beside a tablecloth on a conveniently flat stone, while the stream is pictured in the background.

In the Protevangelium of James the family is accompanied by a son of Joseph's from an earlier marriage (¶17). In some post-medieval images the son becomes an angel. Here the angel has led the ass to the stream to drink of the water.

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More of the Flight into Egypt

Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.