A Warrior adoring the Infant Christ and the Virgin

Vincenzo Catenaafter 1520

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

The painting, probably of the 1520s, is of a shape associated in Venice with votive offerings to the Virgin Mary or a patron saint. Here the warrior who approaches the Virgin and Child on his knees wears European armour, but the silk of his head-dress is from Islamic North Africa, and the trappings of his horse from Islamic Spain; the dagger and belt hanging on the wall are also of Islamic style. It has been conjectured that the painting commemorates the conversion of a Turk.

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  • Title: A Warrior adoring the Infant Christ and the Virgin
  • Creator: Vincenzo Catena
  • Date Created: after 1520
  • Physical Dimensions: 155.3 x 263.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • School: Italian (Venetian)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG234
  • Artist Biography: Vincenzo Catena was a Venetian who seems to have started painting in the style of Bellini and his follower Cima. By 1506 he had formed a partnership with Giorgione, whose style continued to influence him, even after Giorgione's death in 1510. Catena's work is less lyrical than Giorgione's but has a solidity and charm of its own. The first notice of Catena is the inscription on the back of Giorgione's portrait of ''Laura'' dated 1506 (in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) describing Catena as his partner. Such partnerships were not uncommon in the 15th and 16th centuries. Catena appears to have had an independent income and to have moved in the circles of Venetian humanists such as Pietro Bembo. This may have been how he met Giorgione. A comparison of the background of Catena's 'Warrior adoring the Infant Christ' with Giorgione's 'Sunset Landscape' shows Catena's debt to him.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1853


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