Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joseph as an Older Man in Sacred Art

In a recent post, I suggested Joseph was an older man who became betrothed to Mary in order to act as her caretaker. In a comment to that post, one reader asked how I know he was older. The answer is that it was an understanding of the early church based on various documents of the time, including the writings of church fathers.

I thought it would be interesting to look at sacred art to see how it reflects this ancient understanding. I may keep searching to find even older ones, but these illustrate the point.

Enjoy the gallery...











(early 1423)




(Late 1400s to early 1500s)

(Mid 1400s)

(Mid 1400s)


(Late 1400s)



(Early 1500s)



(Early 1600s)




(Late 1600s to early 1700s)

(Late 1600s to early 1700s)


Carol Douglas said...

Interesting idea for a post.

I've painted the annunciation to Joseph, and it remains the more interesting annunciation to me. Mary had proof-positive of her condition the first morning she couldn't keep her breakfast down. For Joseph, the annunciation had to be the ultimate "you've got to be kidding me" scenario.

Suzanne Marie DeWitt said...

@Carol: do you have a photo of the painting online? I'd love to see it!

And you are right... when the Holy Spirit overshadows you to impregnate you with the second person of the Trinity, there is probably no room for doubt about Gabriel's words!

Sweet mystery of life indeed.

Pranayama mama said...

The thought of pre-teen Mary marrying a dude as old as some of these paintings depicts makes me sad!