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Sacred artists have an insight into the Holy Family that we should remember


Public Domain

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/15/17

And some of these masterpieces could grace your own home!

We usually think of young people as the future of society, but counterintuitively, Pope Francis often warns that a culture that has forgotten its grandparents has no future.

A subtle, spiritual way to remember the importance of grandparents is to keep in mind the role they played in Jesus’ human family. Sts. Anne and Joachim, celebrated on July 26, are traditionally held to be the parents of Mary, and thus Jesus’ grandparents.


Read more:
Who were St. Joseph’s parents?

The Holy Family is celebrated liturgically the Sunday after Christmas. It’s a great time to make sure that the Holy Family are visually present in your home!

Here are five beautiful works of art reflecting the love that Jesus had, and received, from this holy couple.


Strikingly titled “The Three Generations,”  this 1769 painting by Francisco Goya shows the Holy Family, with the Virgin Mary’s parents, and God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Public Domain

Diego de Pesquera

Diego de Pesquera’s wood and gilt image from the 16th century shows us a tender, homey scene with Baby Jesus reaching out to clutch his grandpa’s fingers.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art | CC0 1.0 Universal


From Ignatius Press, you can find this lovely image. It was painted in the year 1820 by Belgian artist Joseph Paelinck, and is a beautiful depiction of the Holy Family, with special emphasis on Our Lady’s purity.

Courtesy of Ignatius Press

Then from two artists still working today, we have these wonderful renditions.

Timothy Schmalz

The pure white of this sculpture by Timothy Schmalz and the intimate pose of the members of the Holy Family invite contemplation.

Timothy P. Schmalz

Neilson Carlin

And this piece, commissioned from Neilson Carlin for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, gives us a toddler-aged Jesus at the center of the image, with Anne and Joachim showing a subtle presence in the background. Since it was the icon for an event with the pope, it is available for purchase in a variety of styles, from Christmas ornaments to cups to a desk shrine.

Christ the Healer

Read more:
Artist creates “Christ the Healer” icon for sufferers of coronavirus

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