Tiepolo's Flight into Egypt, conserved in Lisbon, is very special because it refers to a little shown episode in the life of Jesus, namely the moment when the Holy Family docks on the Egyptian coast. This is the story of the most famous 'ambassador' of 18th-century Italian art in the world.
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“Rest on the Flight into Egypt” is an unusual picture that Caravaggio painted in 1597 on a Flanders cloth, a fabric then used to make tablecloths. It was painted during the Roman period of the artist, who lived a short and troubled life due to his quarrelsome temperament.
The story of the flight into Egypt, caused by Herod, has inspired many artists over the centuries. One painting in particular touches hearts and minds: Federico Barocci's "Rest during the Flight into Egypt", which depicts a serene moment in the life (painful since childhood) of Jesus.
Giorgione of Treviso is undoubtedly the author of an unusual Nativity, an Adoration of the Shepherds in which for the first time both the adoring shepherds and the Holy Family are off-centre, while half of the painting is occupied by a beautiful landscape.
One of the most interesting paintings of the birth of Jesus is by Petrus Christus, a member of the 'second generation' of Flemish painting. The subject of an exceptional transaction, it was the first painting in history whose photograph was transmitted by Marconi cable from England to America.
We are in the Christmas period with its the nativity scene. Traditionally, nativity scenes were animated. They have an 'inventor', St Francis of Assisi, who re-enacted the Nativity in a cave in Greccio, immediately after his return from the Holy Land. A Franciscan pontiff, Nicholas IV, commissioned Arnolfo di Cambio to create the first inanimate nativity scene.