The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist

Jan Soens (attributed to), 1547-1548 - 1611-1614

The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist

Jan Soens (attributed to) 1547-1548 - 1611-1614


This devotional painting links the childhood of Christ with the beginning of his adult ministry when he was baptised by St John. The spring on which John sits symbolises the water of eternal life, central to the Christian doctrine of washing away sin. The painting can be dated on stylistic grounds to the end of the 16th century, when there was a free flow of ideas between Italian artists and their northern counterparts. The elegant, elongated style of the figures is associated with Italian Mannerism, but the landscape, with its cool colours and ‘grassy hummock and tree’ motif, recalls the work of Matthew Bril (c.1550-1584) and his younger brother Paul (1554-1625). Several late Mannerist paintings have this motif. This painting is attributed to the Flemish artist Jan Soens, who was active in Rome c.1573-1575 and Parma c.1575-1611.

Object Name

The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist

Date Created

1565 (circa)


unframed: 158.3cm x 110.8cm
framed: 183.9cm x 137cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Purchased with the assistance of the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund


© Manchester Art Gallery

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