- Reference number
- Raphael; Romano, Giulio
- The Holy Family, or The Pearl
- 1519 - 1520
- 147,4 cm x 116 cm x 2,8 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, “sacristía del Escorial, bajo el Crucifijo de Pietro Tacca”, 1656; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza verde de chimenea”, 1794, s.n.; La Granja de San Ildefonso Palace, Segovia, 1809; France,1813; Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, 1818; Prado Museum, 1857)
Felipe IV called this painting The Pearl, as it was his favorite among all those in his collection. There is some disagreement as to who painted it, but the drawing of the composition is generally attributed to Raphael, who would have given it to Giulio Romano to finish.
Notable here, as in other late works by Raphael, are the importance given to the landscape, and an interest in contrasting light. Both of these aspects can be attributed to the artist's renewed contact with Leonardo in Rome between 1513 and 1516. Leonardo's influence is also clear in the pyramidal distribution of the figures.
The work was painted for Ludovico Canossa, and successively passed through the collections of the Duke and Duchess of Mantua, Charles I of England and Luis de Haro, who gave it to Felipe IV.