Skip to main content

Flight into Egypt

Object Details

See more items in
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department
Painting and Sculpture
Date
ca. 1916-1922
Object number
1983.95.202
Luce Center Label
Henry Ossawa Tanner's trip to the Middle East in 1897 probably inspired this scene of the flight into Egypt. The story of the Holy Family fleeing Herod's wrath was a favorite of Tanner's, who created as many as fifteen works on the theme. In this painting, Mary and the donkey are barely discernible, with the suggestion of a figure representing Joseph behind them. Moonlight illuminates the path for the family to follow. Tanner's own experience of racism in the United States, which motivated him to move to Paris, may have led him to identify with the persecuted Holy Family.
Luce Object Quote
"Dark clouds swept the moonlit skies and it took little imagination to close one's eyes to the flight of time . . . and see in each hurrying group a 'Flight into Egypt.'" Henry Ossawa Tanner, "The Story of an Artist's Life," in World's Work, June/July 1909
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Robbins
Artist
Henry Ossawa Tanner, born Pittsburgh, PA 1859-died Paris, France 1937
Topic
Landscape\celestial\moon
Landscape\celestial\moon
Landscape\road
Animal\donkey
Religion\New Testament\Christ
Religion\New Testament\Mary
Religion\New Testament\Flight into Egypt
Religion\New Testament\Joseph
Medium
oil on wood
Dimensions
16 7/8 x 16 7/8 in. (43.0 x 43.0 cm)
Data Source
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Type
Painting
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk7d246a23a-ffad-4109-a2ec-f7418ea6230a
Record ID
saam_1983.95.202

Flight into Egypt

Back to Top Back to Main Content