Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 29

CHAPTER X / Xxxxxx Xxxxx
J OA N D E J OA N E S / Holy Family
Very close in date and style is the Holy Family with Saint
Elizabeth and the Infant Saint John the Baptist by Joanes
once in the Valencia Cathedral (fig. 8).27 The work was
destroyed in the Spanish Civil War but is known from
old photographs that reveal the Raphaelesque influence
already noted by Ponz in the eighteenth century in his
Viage de España:
Fig. 7/Joan de Joanes, Saint
Joseph’s Workshop, oil on
panel, 31 x 26 cm, Berlin,
Fig. 8 /Joan de Joanes, Holy
Family with Saint Elizabeth
and the Infant Saint John
the Baptist, dimensions
unknown, formerly in
Valencia Cathedral.
Far from occupying a secondary position, Joseph is
presented on a level equal to Mary and is characterized as
a mature adult, matching the other figures in ideal beauty.
The skilful, detailed manner of depicting the hair of his
beard brings to mind Palomino’s account of the artist
in which he emphasized Joanes’s ability to depict hair.
The composition includes a fine, panoramic Flemish
landscape with a cloudy sky and a mill near the
expanse of water and blue-tinged mountains in the
background. There is a striking similarity between
this Holy Family and a panel by Joanes that has been in
the Berlin Gemäldegalerie (inv. no. 1406) since 1874,
depicting Saint Joseph’s Workshop (fig. 7).26 This picture
presents a detailed recreation of a carpenter’s studio,
its workbench, and tools. Joseph, like his counterpart in
The Holy Family, is shown almost in profile, as a bearded
young adult, and the Christ Child has the same
expression and tilt of the head.
A Holy Family which is there [in
Valencia cathedral], with the particular
detail that the Christ-God, held in
the arms of Our Lady, is specifically
a copy of the one in The Virgin of the
Fish in El Escorial, but painted as if it
were original, eminently accompanied
by the fine technique and invention
of the other figures in the painting,
which offers proof that Joanes followed
Raphael’s style as far as possible.28
In the figure of Saint Joseph in the painting formerly
in Valencia Cathedral, Joanes reveals the influence
of the above-mentioned works by Sebastiano del
Piombo, brought to Valencia by Vich. Sebastiano’s
Virgin’s gentle features are especially close to those in
the present work, with a broad forehead, straight nose,
half-closed eyes, slight smile, rounded chin and smooth
golden hair with a centre-parting.


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