1570-73; Oil on canvas; Pinacoteca, Vatican
This painting depicts a stop on the Holy Family's journey from Bethlehem to Egypt as related in the Bible. The artist is noted for the elegance of his style and the warmth of his religious feeling.
Even in his smaller canvasses which were painted for private chapels or collectors, Barocci abandoned the often cold calligraphy of the Mannerists. Instead, he favoured delicate images, rosy colours, soft light, and landscape settings. This did not mean that Barocci was not also a refined painter. Indeed, in a painting like this the way that the gestures and looks of the characters link to each other shows that he studied his compositions carefully. But what he did not do was to show off cleverness for its own sake. The way that he accurately describes a number of details (the fruits, the metal objects, or the items in the bottom left corner) foreshadows the imminent developments that would give rise to the new (for Italy) genre of still-lifes. This is yet another confirmation of Barocci's key role in a time of transition.