A large canvas “Holy Family” by Pompeo Batoni performed for himself and for almost five years it was kept in his workshop. In 1782 the workshop of Batoni in Rome was visited by the heir of the Russian throne, czarevich Pavel Petrovich and his wife Maria Feodorovna.
He bought the picture he liked as a gift to his mother, Empress Catherine II. Batoni’s inherent features of a picturesque manner are very clearly manifested in this work: smooth dense imposition of paint, elegant soundness of color, remarkable cleanliness of the drawing.
The figures of Mary with the baby in her arms and the boy John the Baptist are somewhat abstract in their perfection. Batoni is one of the creators of classicism, but his art has never belonged to this style completely. In the “Holy Family” the left group – Joseph, who reads the Bible, and Elizabeth, who wants to take the baby in her arms, is almost genre. The color of this part of the painting is also softened.
The table behind which Joseph sits is covered with a carpet and decorated with a bouquet consisting of roses and lilies. Both flowers – the symbols of Mary, but at the same time the bouquet gives a special comfort to the atmosphere of the room and tells the completeness of the composition.