Young St Joseph

St Joseph becomes the “guiding hand”

Engineer Daniel De Valentin is a talented Canberra artist with works hung in the National Portrait Gallery, the Australian National University and in private collections.

Young St Joseph image 01

In the Year of St Joseph, Daniel was commissioned to produce a painting of St Joseph for his parish church at St Anthony of Padua in Wanniassa ACT.

The project concept was of a younger St Joseph instead of the older versions commonly portrayed. A more hands-on St Joseph, positioning him alongside Jesus teaching him a specific skill.

The painting became St Joseph guiding the hand of Jesus to hammer a nail into wood. It’s a very ordinary image that we could imagine our fathers teaching us. The hammering of a nail into wood also has resonance with the later crucifixion of Jesus.

The project took about six months from concept, to sketches, photography, black and white colourings, and the finished work. Daniel worked from photographs of a carpentry set in his garage.

Michael Giorgi was the model for St Joseph in the photographs and he was joined by Ben Jeffery who modelled the child Jesus. Daniel's wife Ruth (costume design) and brother Nathan (photography) were also key members of the project.

Daniel sees his grandfather’s skilled wood turning as a key inspiration for his artistic work. Daniel began drawing and painting at the age of eight.

The finished painting will be framed and varnished before being placed in its home at St Anthony’s.