Sacra Famiglia con Sant’Anna e san Giovannino (c.1540)

Bronzino (1503-1572)

Sacra Famiglia con Sant’Anna e san Giovannino (Holy Family with St. Anne and the Infant St. John)
Oil on poplar panel, 126.8 x 101.5 cm
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna

Inscribed on the stone under the left foot of the Child Jesus: BROZINO FIORETINO.

The Boy John occupies the prime position. Looks and gestures point to the child Jesus who is presented frontally to the viewer. Standing behind them is Mary, caressing her son lovingly. The composition is extended by Anna and Joseph. Bronzino enhances the sharply contoured and sculpture-like depiction to a stone-like coldness, encompassing particularly the two boys; this may well be an instance of the competition thought to exist between painting and sculpture that was debated time and again in the art theory of the period. (KHM)