The Holy Family with Saints Elizabeth and John

WAG 1995.105


The Christ child and the infant John the Baptist are seen embracing, supported by their mothers: Saint Elizabeth on the left and the Virgin Mary on the right. It is not certain which saint is seen behind Elizabeth, but the male figure behind her is presumably Joseph. Francis Richardson, referring to the British Museum's version of this print, describes it was 'one of Schiavone's most beautiful etchings, brilliantly worked out in abstract terms as an interplay of light and form' (Richardson, 1980). The Walker's version is possibly a later impression as it varies in some regards from the British Museum print. Schivaone was born in Croatia but was mainly active in Venice. He was a painter and etcher. Richardson argues that he was highly innovative as an etcher and 'his technique was unlike that of any contemporary'. In particular Schiavone made use of hatching to convey tone, form and light.