|Flight into Egypt circa 1892|
George Hitchcock born 1850 in Providence Rhode Island. Died 1913.
Like many American artists, he went to Europe to learn the craft and hang out with other artists. Unlike most American artists, George had a law degree from Harvard. Apparently, he thought he could do more good for humanity by throwing paint onto canvas than by writing contracts.
The European influence shows in the background of this painting. The taller white-flowered plants are Queen Anne's Lace or Yarrow and the blue-tinted flowers are Chicory. It is doubtful that they grow in such abundance in the Holy Land. Incidentally, all three of those flowers are late summer bloomers, so this painting was probably from August of 1892. Hitchcock places the travelers on a back-way that sees little traffic.
This was a big seller and Hitchcock produced many variations of it.
For those who are unfamiliar with the story of Joseph, Mary and Jesus's flight into Eygpt, Herod Antipas heard that a "King" was born in Bethlehem. Herod was the governor of Galilee and Syria. Rather than risk the chance that he would lose his cushy position as governor, he sent soldiers down to Bethlehem to slaughter all boys below the age of two.
Joseph was warned in a dream. The family blew-the-pop-stand just ahead of the soldiers and stayed in Egypt for an undefined amount of time.
If you believe that people have not changed significantly in the last two-thousand years, the story of the Flight into Egypt should serve as a stark reminder of what people are willing to do to hang onto power, even two-bit governors ruling in the ass-end of the empire.