Oil Dedicated to Holy Family
Holy Family healing oil consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. The subject became popular in art from the 1490s on. But veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Saint François de Laval. The first bishop of New France. Who founded a confraternity.
Many early Holy Family compositions are either Nativity scenes or the Rest on the Flight into Egypt with the removal of other event-specific elements, such as the ox and ass of the Nativity, to concentrate on the three main figures for devotional images, mostly intended for wealthy homes. Alternatively many compositions clearly derive from a Madonna and Child, with a Saint Joseph added. Often the figures shown close-up, filling much of the picture space.
Related variants add Jesus’s slightly older cousin, Saint John the Baptist, and often his mother Saint Elizabeth; but Joseph is often absent in these, removing them from the usual definition of a Holy Family. It thought that the Holy Family stayed with Elizabeth on their return from Egypt, and these pictures tend to show the children older than newborns. The extended family of Jesus, already popular as a subject in art, called the Holy Kinship; this might include up to twenty figures