It is possible that this circular picture used to belong to the Brothers of S. Francesco in Florence. Mary is identifi ed as the Queen of Heaven by a crown, but at the same time she is the mother of the boy Christ, who is marked out for sacrifi ce. He is reaching for her breast. Theologians saw Mary as the giver of nourishment, as the mother of all mankind, and of salvation. Singing angels are praising her, with lilies in their hands as symbols of purity. Just as the ideal of earthly female beauty was always sought in the face and form of Mary, in the same way the angels can be seen as embodying youthful harmony. Botticelli mastered this demanding format with a calculated pictorial order that takes up the circular border: the Madonna is enthroned at the centre of a multiple encircling movement.