Inside Greeting: Season's Greetings
Contains 6 greeting cards.
Francesco Salviati (Italian), The Holy Family with Saint John. Oil on wood panel, about 1540.
Languorously elegant, a youthful Madonna gently supports a robust, twisting Christ Child on her lap in this striking panel by Francesco Salviati. Leaning against her left shoulder, the infant John the Baptist gazes adoringly at his young cousin, Jesus. Saint Joseph looks on in contemplation from the shadows. The figures emerge from a velvety darkness, the Virgin's robes almost glowing, with the play of light on the fabric represented through color shifts rather than changes in value, giving the garment an iridescent quality. The elongated proportions, serpentine poses, shallow space, and vibrant, high-key tones express the taste for the graceful, studied artifice of the bella maniera, or Mannerism, of the sixteenth century.
Francesco de' Rossi, who adopted the surname of his first major patron, Cardinal Giovanni Salviati, trained in Florence with a number of artists, initially in his uncle's goldsmith shop and eventually with the painter Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530). After del Sarto's death in 1530, Salviati left Florence for Rome, where he made his name as a fresco painter. From 1539 to 1541, Salviati was working primarily in Florence and Venice. It is possibly during this sojourn away from Rome that he executed The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist. Salviati's early training as a goldsmith is evident not only in the elaborate diadem and jeweled collar worn by the Virgin and in the clasp of John the Baptist's cloak, with its fanciful, grotesque face; but also in the ornamental line of details such as hair and the folds of the garments.