The Bible recounts very little about the relationship of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ parents. According to Matthew the Evangelist, the carpenter Joseph was engaged to Mary, and they were not yet living together when she discovered that she was with child. Joseph wanted to leave her quietly and spare her from public disgrace. An angel appeared to him in a dream and announced that not he, but the Holy Spirit, had conceived the child: Joseph was to stay with Mary and name their son Jesus. In Christian art, various scenes involving Christ’s parents were derived from apocryphal writings. In one of them, Joseph is miraculously ‘chosen’ from a group of jealous suitors vying for Mary’s hand. Other scenes in which Joseph appears together with Mary are the Nativity, the Adoration of the Shepherds and of the Kings, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Flight into Egypt.



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