Research: Luce Center for American Art

Wedding of Mary and Joseph
Accession #41.1251
Artist Unknown
TitleWedding of Mary and Joseph
Datelate 17th century
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions32 5/8 x 48 1/4 in. (82.9 x 122.6 cm)
Credit LineCarll H. de Silver Fund
LocationVisible Storage: Case 24, Screen A (Paintings)

Curatorial Remarks:

Here we see Mary and Joseph at the temple before a high priest clad in a richly flower-patterned hooded mantle. Assisting clergymen in contemporary dress flank him. Joseph carries his staff, flowering with lilies--a heavenly sign indicating that Joseph was chosen by God to wed Mary. Bride and groom have halos inscribed in gold. Behind the bride stands her mother, Ann, gesturing in awe and happiness. At the extreme right, a rejected suitor breaks his staff, which does not flower as Joseph's has. Overall gold stamping enriches and unifies the composition. The painting offers a glimpse into a Peruvian fantasy landscape with colorful longtailed birds and flowers scattered over the ground, transferring the biblical scene from the Holy Land to the Americas.