This 1620 painting took my by surprise this morning. I was wondering out of my room about to prepare for the day and Nicholas showed me the Universalis painting today. Universalis is a wonderful app for Catholics with the Divine Office and Mass readings for the day, as well as the Angelus and Rosary prayers (and much more). Each day the app has an ‘About Today’ section where you can learn about the Saint of the day. Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joseph does not say a single word in the Gospels but he is a very important figure in the life of our Lord. He was Christ’s earthly father and looked after Him, indeed taught Him carpentry, before Jesus went out on His ministry.

Guido Reni was an Italian Baroque painter. His works have been compared to those of Simon Vouet, Nicolas Poussin, and Philippe de Champaigne. Below is his 1620 work, St Joseph and the Infant Jesus.





This painting is moving for a number of reasons. Nothing is known of St Joseph, other than that he was a carpenter, he brought up Jesus, he supported his wife Mary (indeed, marrying her after she had conceived a child by the Holy Spirit), and accepted the will of God. He has been the subject of countless religious works. He is the patron Saint of artisans who honourably do good works with the gifts God has given them. In this wonderfully rendered painting, Saint Joseph looks tenderly down at his son, while his son looks adoringly up at him. The colours of St Joseph’s garment are striking, as is the softness of his hair, and the precision of the rendering of his beard. In the background, one can see an angel frolicking about.

This is a very tender work, which moved me rather. It is a source of inspiration to parents, and those soon to be parents, on the venerable and loving regard one should have for their children.