The mixture of Flemish detail and Italian monumentality is typical of Benson's work. The Christ Child reaches down to take a handful of nuts or fruits from St Joseph's hat. This probably represents an episode from a legend which first appears in an apocryphal Gospel, known as the Pseudo-Matthew, which tells how a palm tree bent over to supply the Holy Family with fruit during the Flight into Egypt.
Where to see this painting?
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
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