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Holy Kinship

saint art include mary

Continuing interest in the genealogy and *Ancestors of *Christ was further developed in the twelfth century in literary descriptions of Christ’s immediate family relations among figures mentioned in the Gospels and *Apocrypha. The pictorial theme of the Holy Kinship (also “Holy Company,” “Family of Saint Anne”) generally follows the explication in the * Golden Legend , which describes that Saint *Anne was married three times and in each marriage gave birth to a daughter named Mary. The offspring of these three Marys include Jesus and several of the *apostles described as Jesus’ “brethren” in the Gospels. Additionally, the relationship of Saint *Elizabeth (as a “cousin”) and the Virgin *Mary was explained, and the group was expanded (especially in art and literature of later medieval northern Europe) to include various later Germanic *saints. The subject was especially popular in late medieval art and generally depicts a large group of seated women bearing *haloes and holding their infants or observing them at play. The *Madonna and Child form the central elements in the composition. Husbands are often included, and all of the figures in this extended family group may be identified with inscriptions.
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