There are two betrothal stories told in this painting, one human and one divine. Like the Scriptures, this painting can be read on these two levels; it has a literal human sense and a spiritual Christo-centric sense. Joseph looks as though he may be considering already the words of the sacrament of marriage ceremony: ‘to love and to cherish from this day forth’, while the spiritual story is of the spousal betrothal between God and his people.
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