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The Holy Family with a Saint, the Trinity and Angels
Ludovico Mazzolino
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As Saint Nicholas of Tolentino (1245–1305) contemplates the Christ Child, rays of golden light impress a sun with the face of a cherub upon his breast. Christ eats the cherries offered by Saint Joseph, symbolising the fruit of paradise. Angels watch and play music; God the Father, together with the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove, bless the holy family below.

The presence of Saint Nicholas, an Augustinian friar who was based in Tolentino for the last 30 years of his life, makes it likely that this picture was commissioned by a member of an Augustinian community in or near Ferrara. The distinctive haloes made of tiny gold lines are typical of Mazzolino, as are the classical friezes and ornaments in the background architecture. He often reused the same motifs, which suggests that he was working from a collection of drawings kept in his studio.

Key facts
Artist Ludovico Mazzolino
Artist dates active 1504; died 1528?
Full title The Holy Family with Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, the Trinity and Angels
Date made about 1520
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 80.6 x 62.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1839
Inventory number NG169
Location in Gallery Room 10
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