With the purpose of giving expression to the motto in an official picture of the Institute, the General Council ordered the painting of a Holy Family. The task went to Mr Guglielmino, professor of painting in the Artigianelli School of Turin (Italy). The work was done in 1934 and is kept in Villa Brea, Chieri (Italy).
Thus was materialized the painting known as the “official picture”, an illustration very well achieved that has generated many versions in all the artistic techniques. The canvas is 1.86 metres high by 1.37 metres wide.
The same Superior General of that time, Brother Stephen Baffert, commented the message of the picture :
“In Nazareth they prayed: The three persons are united by the sole act of Jesus’ obedience, whom Joseph orders and whom Mary admires. But Jesus, who is the linking bond in the icon, is also the figure which most overtly expresses prayer. His ear is open to what Joseph, his father on earth, tells him to do, but his eyes are clearly turned up to his Father in heaven, who truly orders him through Saint Joseph.
Mary does not forget, not for a second, that divine relationship of her Son with the Heavenly Father, and it is precisely this intimate wonder at seeing this humble obedience coming from the great God which keeps her attentive eyes on her Son’s every movement.
Saint Joseph, even though in command, does not forget that his son, formed in his workshop, carries in him the light of God. That is why, although he appears to be telling him what to do, his look is that of one humbled by the wisdom of his Creator, in an attitude of prayer, of homage, of worship.
“In Nazareth they worked: At a first glance we see the Holy Family at work. Saint Joseph is at the carpenter’s bench. Mary is sitting in front of him, her sewing on her lap. She is sewing. The hand holding the needle has momentarily stopped. The mother contemplates her obedient son Jesus who, at his father’s request, has just taken a hammer and a piece of wood, and is now listening to his legal father’s orders.”
“In Nazareth they love each other: Mary and Joseph’s love of each other, and their unity in Jesus, have both been expressed in a very suggestive manner through their proximity and their relative distribution on the canvas.
Let’s notice how Mary has brought her stool close to her husband’s working bench. She has left but a small gap which Jesus has promptly filled in with his own person so divinely appealing. Jesus appears as the linking bond between the two saintly spouses, whilst, at the same time, joining them together in their gaze, their physical and their spiritual gaze, focusing on him.”
Read Contemplation of the official picture