Kunsthalle Bremen Alte Meister Gemälde und Skulpturen [1007-1969/5]

The Holy Family

Die Heilige Familie (Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen CC BY-NC-SA)
Provenance/Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen (CC BY-NC-SA)


This large-scale painting shows the Holy Family resting beneath a tree on their flight to Egypt. The work captivates with its intense colors and marked contrasts of light and dark (chiaroscuro), which reveal the influence of Caravaggio. The divine light falls on Mary, the Chosen One, in the center of the composition, who devotedly looks towards it, with the Christ Child also bathed in this light. The contours of his foster father, Joseph, on the other hand, lie in the shadows. The grapes in the Child’s hand allude to the Virgin as the “Madonna of the Grapevine.” According to this interpretation, Mary is regarded as the grapevine upon which Jesus grew as a grape. At the same time, the fruit stands for wine, which signifies the sacrificial death of Jesus in the Eucharist. A further premonition of the Child’s fate may be seen in the strong wind blowing against the Holy Family on their flight. The attribution to Simon Vouet is subject to debate. The painting was most likely executed by an artist close to Vouet, who is considered the founder of Baroque painting in France, and who, upon his return from Italy, was appointed court painter to Louis XIII.


Oil on canvas


178.5 x 118.5 cm

Painted ...
... Who: Zur Personenseite: Simon Vouet (1590-1649)
... When [About]
Was depicted (Actor) ...
... Who: Zur Personenseite: Jesus Christ (-4-30)
Was depicted (Actor) ...
... Who: Zur Personenseite: Joseph
Was depicted (Actor) ...
... Who: Zur Personenseite: Virgin Mary


Zeitleiste Objekte zum Tag auf KarteZeitleiste Objekte zum Tag auf KarteZeitleiste Objekte zum Tag auf Karte

Kunsthalle Bremen

Object from: Kunsthalle Bremen

Vor über 160 Jahren wurde die Kunsthalle Bremen unweit des Bremer Marktplatzes erbaut, als erstes eigenständiges Haus für eine bürgerliche...

Contact the institution

[Last update: ]

Usage and citation

Cite this page
The textual information presented here is free for non-commercial usage if the source is named. (Creative Commons Lizenz 3.0, by-nc-sa) Please name as source not only the internet representation but also the name of the museum.
Rights for the images are shown below the large images (which are accessible by clicking on the smaller images). If nothing different is mentioned there the same regulation as for textual information applies.
Any commercial usage of text or image demands communication with the museum.