The Holy Families

probably 1700–10
Pierre Etienne Monnot (French, 1657–1733)

Object Place: Europe, Rome, Italy


71.4 x 56.8 cm (28 1/8 x 22 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)





Terracotta. Relief depicting interior with Mary holding Christ Child with Joseph seated behind on right. Cradle in center. Young St. John seated holding a banner, St. Elizabeth and spouse left.

This relief presents the Virgin and Child with St. Joseph, the young St. John the Baptist, St. Elizabeth, and St. Zachary. An angel is about to enter through the doorway at the back of the room. The figures are placed in a domestic setting that creates a feeling of intimacy focusing on the infant Jesus in his mother’s embrace. Although very likely a model for a marble relief, the terra cotta stands on its own as a work of art. Still in the artist’s possession at his death, it was a highly valued bequest to one of his executors.


1733, bequeathed by the artist to Antonio Valeriani, Rome [see note 1]. By 1983, consigned by Fiorentina, S. A. to Heim Gallery, London [see note 2]; 1987, sold by Heim Gallery to Randolph J. Fuller, Boston, MA; 1987, gift of Randolph J. Fuller to the MFA. (Accession date: March 25, 1987)

[1] See P. Fusco, "Pierre-Etienne Monnot's Inventory After Death," Antologia di belle arti 33-34 (1988), 70-77, here 74, n. 71, fig. 6.

[2] From 1983-1987, the relief was on loan at the MFA as an intended gift of Randolph J. Fuller.

Credit Line

Gift of Randolph J. Fuller