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The Holy Family with St Anne and the Infant John the Baptist

  • Holy Family with Saint Anne and the Infant John the Baptist. Santa Cruz Museum. Toledo © Ministerio de Cultura

    Holy Family with Saint Anne and the Infant John the Baptist. Santa Cruz Museum. Toledo © Ministerio de Cultura







El Greco

Cultural background


Original title

La Sagrada Familia con Santa Ana y San Juanito
Santa Cruz Museum
Toledo, Castile-La Mancha

It is considered to be one of the first versions of this iconography painted by El Greco.

The Virgin Mary and St Anne are regarding Baby Jesus with a grave look, which anticipates his eventual passion and death. The infant John the Baptist, depicted almost naked, looks like Harpocrates, the god of silence, because he is holding a glass bowl of peaces and putting a finger to his lips asking for silence because of the premonition of Christ's death.

Joseph appears in the background, looking at the spectators. His portrait is typical of a person of the time and has been identified by some specialists as a hypothetical donor. His figure was hidden, but discovered after the restoration carried out in 1982.

Details of the work

Parish Church of Santa Leocadia in Toledo


Height = 1.82 m; Width = 1.12 m

Oil on canvas technique

Canvas, Pigment, Wood, Agglutinating Agent, Varnish


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