Pinturicchio and assistants, The Visitation, fresco, 1492-1494, Borgia Apartments, Room of the Saints © Musei Vaticani
St. Joseph, after centuries of indifference, was finally invested with a more stable presence as a co-protagonist, sometime around the beginning of the Byzantine era and the Middle Ages. His presence at the Visitation does not appear in the four canonical Gospels, nor in any of the apocryphal gospels. Rather, he is introduced into traditional iconography from preachers’ sermons and from the revelations of mystics. St. Joseph is always depicted as a mature man, and sometimes as an elderly man. In the rich architectural background painted by Pinturicchio in the Borgia Apartments, the Saint’s age seems even more evident, though he maintains his dignified meekness. He is well-dressed and leans on a large walking stick used by shepherds. He displays a subdued and distant gaze, one usually worn by someone who has accepted his fate.
(Pope Francis – Apostolic Letter Patris Corde)
Under the direction of Paolo Ondarza
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