This depiction of the Holy Family shows us Jesus of Nazareth as a young boy surrounded by and holding the hand of Joseph, his adoptive father, located to his right, and Mary, his mother, to his left. The three are under the watchful eye of God, the Father, who observes them from heaven.

This massive work presents, in its centre, a light source of great intensity that, by its rays, spills onto the characters, who are nevertheless surrounded by a very dark, flat setting. The parents, St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary, each look admiringly at Jesus Christ, depicted here around the age of 6 or 7. The young boy, serene and confident, raises his eyes to the sky, giving the impression that he is fully aware of the future that awaits him to respond wholeheartedly to the will of God.

Over the centuries, several artists have illustrated the Holy Family.

As for the artist, Joseph Dynes, he was a native of Burlington in Upper Canada (Ontario). His father was born in England. Joseph was born in 1825. He was of the Anglican religion. Between 1848 and 1867, he dabbled alternatively in painting and photography, a technology that was becoming increasingly popular. He became a portraitist or worked as a colorist in several photography studios. He sometimes went to work in Quebec City, sometimes in Montreal.

Around 1870, Joseph Dynes, who at that time had his own workshop on rue Saint-Jean in Quebec City, returned to his first artistic love and devoted himself entirely to painting.

In the 1891 Canadian census conducted on April 20, Joseph Dynes, age 64, still lived in Quebec City in the Saint-Louis neighbourhood. He lived there with his wife Francis (or Frances) White (age 50), their sons Herbert-Samuel (age 21) and Edmond (age 16), and their daughter Maud (age 19).

Dynes passed away on September 3, 1897, in Burlington. He was 72 years old.

The Musée Pierre-Boucher owns three works by this artist: this one, Pierre Boucher, and Saint Ignatius of Loyola Praying to Our Lady.

Donation from a collector
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1987 191 P