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Wedding of Mary and Joseph


American Art

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.

ARTIST Unknown
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES late 17th century
DIMENSIONS 32 5/8 x 48 1/4 in. (82.9 x 122.6 cm)
CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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