The Holy Kinship
From an altarpiece; originally the reverse of a panel depicting the Tree of Jesse (location unknown), from which it was split by 1898.
Attributed to Matthäus Gutrecht the Younger, German (active Konstanz), first documented 1506, died 1533/34
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This painting depicts the Virgin Mary’s family on the side of her mother, Anne. According to medieval legend, Anne married three times. By Joachim, her first husband, Anne gave birth to the Virgin Mary, and by her second and third husbands, Cleophas and Salomas, she bore two other daughters also named Mary.
The Virgin, Christ child, and Anne occupy the center of the painting, with Joseph, Joachim, and the dove of the Holy Spirit above them. Mary Cleophae sits at the far right with her four children, and Mary Salomae is second from the left with her two children, Saints James the Apostle and John the Evangelist. The other figures include Anne’s parents and sister and the Virgin’s cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. The reverse of this panel originally had a painted Tree of Jesse (now lost) showing the genealogy of the Virgin’s family on her father’s side.