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The Holy Family
Orley, Bernard van
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Orley, Bernard van

Brussels (?), 1488 - Brussels, 1541

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The Holy Family

1522. Oil on panel.
Room 057A

The Holy Family is shown indoors, in front of a window thought which a costal landscape is visible. The Christ Child stands on a sumptuous carpet and plays with his mother. Saint Joseph holds an apple —an allusion to the Garden of Eden-that symbolizes Mary´s condition as the new Eve. An Angel crowns the Virgin as Queen of Heaven while another offers her a basket of flowers like those resting on the table, alluding to the Passion Jesus must suffer to save humankind from sin. This panel owes much to Raphael, whose cartoons for Acts of the Apostles were studied by Van Orley in Brussels. The artist includes a cartouche with his signature in Roman characters and the date. Here, van Orley combines his first-hand knowledge of Italian art with a meticulous technique —visible in Saint Joseph´s beard— that he acquired during his training.

Technical data

Inventory number
Orley, Bernard van
The Holy Family
Height: 90 cm; Width: 74 cm
Legacy of Pablo Bosch y Barrau, 1916

Bibliography +

Tormo, Elías, La perla de la colección de Bosch legado al Museo del Prado, Boletín de la Sociedad española de excursiones, 24, 1916, pp. 74.

Nowe, H., Keizer Karel en Zijn Tijd., Museum Voor Schone Kunsten, Gante, 1955.

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, A.W.Sijthoff, Leyden-Bruselas, 1972, pp. 65-72/ lám.119.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 472.

Balis, A (dir.), La pintura flamenca en el Prado, Ibercaja Fonds Mercator, Amberes, 1989, pp. 91.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (III). Nuevas Adquisiciones. Museo Iconográfico. Tapices., Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Silva Maroto, Pilar, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 123.

Galand, Alexandre, 'After Bernard van Orley 'Holy Family'MRBAB/KMSKB n.359 '. En:The Flemish Primitives. vol VI Bernard van Orley, Brepols, Bruselas, 2013, pp. 34,91,99,102,107,114-116, 125.

Galand, Alexandre, The Flemish Primitives. vol VI Bernard van Orley, Brepols, Bruselas, 2013, pp. 34,91,99,102,107,114-116, 125.

Pérez Preciado, J. J., "Antes morir que discutir". Sobre las atribuciones históricas de lapintura neerlandesa antigua en el Museo del Prado (1912-33), Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXVII (55-57), 2019-2021, pp. 190-211 [205].

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1409.

Exhibitions +

03.07.2007 - 07.10.2007

Location +

Room 057A (On Display)


Displayed objects +



Crown / Wreath

Textile, Domestic

Update date: 18-01-2023 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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