Domenico Guidi
The Holy Family

17th century
Marble relief
Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone

The child Jesus stands at Mary's lap and receives a gift from his cousin John, who is precociously clad in the animal-skin garb he will wear as an adult in the desert. The aging woman behind John is his mother Elizabeth.

In the lower left corner a seated man points to something in a book. This may be a reference to Luke 1:63, where John's father Zechariah writes on a tablet, "John is his name." If so, the man on the right would be St. Joseph. (Otherwise the man on the right would be Zechariah and the man with the book would be St. Joseph, but there is nothing in scripture about Joseph having a book or pointing to anything.)

The thing John is handing to Jesus looks like an elliptical shell, perhaps referring to the time years later when John will baptize him by pouring water from a shell.

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