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Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint George (Holy Conversation)

Paris BordoneEarly 1530-s

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

This painting depicts a subject well-loved by Venetian artists - the Sacra Conversazione (or Sacred Conversation): the figures of the Madonna and Child and a number of saints brought together in a single composition in a shared space and in silent spiritual communication. This type of depiction, in which the individual figures are arranged not on different panels of a polyptych, but within a common space, became widespread in Italian painting of the Renaissance. The selection of the saints was determined by the nature of the commission and the special features of the painter's conception. In this picture by Paris Bordone, John the Baptist is presented as the "forerunner" of Christ, whom he is presenting to the beholder. As for St.George, he was revered as one of the patron saints of Venice.
Paris Bordone was the most talented of Titian's pupils: the general principles of composition in this picture and its subject matter can be traced back to Bordone's teacher. The canvas is a model of artistic maturity and consummate perfection achieved by Bordone in large measure thanks to his sojourn in Titian's workshop. The combination of a group of figures arranged in the foreground and a landscape opening up behind them is typical for many works by this artist.

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