Artworks and Artists
The Holy Family with Three Hares

The Holy Family with Three Hares,
c. 1496
Dürer, Albrecht
woodcut on laid paper
38.6 x 28 cm


In this woodcut The Holy Family is depicted in an enclosed garden, the entrance gate of which can be seen on the far left. Note the contrasting emotional states of each of the figures during a moment of revelation. In his hands, the Christ child holds the Scriptures in which his destiny has been prophesized, Joseph realizes the implications and appears distressed, his aged features a counterpoint to the youthful vitality of the Virgin, who is about to be crowned as the Mother of God. The three hares have been interpreted as symbolic of fertility, the Trinity, as well as the followers of Christ.