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The Holy Family (Il Silenzio)
Marcello Venusti after Michelangelo

Christ sleeps across his mother's lap in an attitude suggestive of the Pietà when his dead body was placed in a similar position. Joseph and the infant John the Baptist look on, the latter enjoining both attention and silence and mysteriously attired in a leopard skin (rather than the traditional camel skin).

The composition was known as 'Il Silenzio' (Silence) in the 16th century. It is based on a highly finished drawing made by Michelangelo and was probably painted in Florence in about 1560.

Key facts
Artist Marcello Venusti after Michelangelo
Artist dates born 1512-15; died 1579
Full title The Holy Family (Il Silenzio)
Date made about 1565
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 43.2 x 28.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1887
Inventory number NG1227
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings 1250-1600
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