Francesco Maggiotto
The Death of St. Joseph

1805
Church of St. Jeremiah ("San Geremia"), Venice

Joseph figures in the infancy narratives in Matthew and in the episode of the boy Jesus with the "doctors," but not in any subsequent episode. It is thus assumed that he was dead when Jesus began his ministry at age 30. Following this assumption Maggiotto paints Jesus as a man in his 20s and Joseph as old and gray. Mary seems almost as youthful as her son; as usual, she wears a blue mantle over a red robe. Images like this one often include an angel painting heavenward.

This image type developed as early as the 17th century, but it was not until the 19th that it became a common feature in Catholic churches. American and Canadian churches of the 19th through the mid-twentieth centuries typically had an altar dedicated to St. Joseph in the bay to the right of the main altar, with a stained glass image of this type.

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