I don't understand why coloured haloes are given.
- Why is St Joseph given the colour of fecundity -and of the Holy Spirit- when he is merely the chaste foster father?
- Why does the chaste St Joseph hold the Virgin in an embrace?
- Why is he larger than the Virgin?
- Why does he lay his left hand on Christ as if he is conferring something?
- Why does he look out of the picture with the same majesty as Christ as if he is sharing in his imperium in some manner?
As highly honoured as he is, St Joseph is not an equal of either the Son or of the Mother of God. St Joseph is a man like us in all things, including sin, he did not have the beatific vision before him always.
I would have less of a problem with this as a pious sentimental western oil painting but as something meant to be an icon, I scurry past it whenever I am in the cathedral, trying to avoid eye contact with it. Where is she looking?