Pax with the Madonna and Child

Moderno (Italian, 1467-1528)after 1506

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

A pax is a small flat tablet decorated with Christian images and meant to be kissed by the priest before Communion. The Madonna, crowned with a halo, sits with the Christ Child on her right knee, and her drapery falls delicately off her right shoulder as she exposes her breast to the Christ Child. Christ's posture is characteristic of an infant, and his body turns out as he clasps onto his mother's drapery while his head faces inward. In the background, Saint Joseph holds a cross. Two angels, each with a wreath, float in the distance above the Madonna's head while on each side of the Madonna, the heads of five male saints are represented, carved in low relief. Some saints focus on the holy family, while others look upward to heaven. Saint Joseph is cast in higher relief, while the Madonna and Child stand in the highest relief. The pax is in the shape of an architectural structure. Above the pediment, the pax's hanging-hole is supported by two concave tear-shapes on either side of it. The bottom border is decorated with palmettes, and in the center, a shield bears the Medici coat of arms. Within the structure's pediment, God the Father outstretches his arms. A cherub floats to God's right and the two gaze down upon the holy family and saints.

Download this artwork (provided by The Cleveland Museum of Art).
Learn more about this artwork.


  • Title: Pax with the Madonna and Child
  • Creator: Moderno (Italian, 1467-1528)
  • Date Created: after 1506
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 11.8 x 7 cm (4 5/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
  • Provenance: Vicomte Louis de Sartiges, died 1924;, Otto Gudekunst;, Dr. Jacob Hirsch (New York, New York), possibly by bequest to Leo Mildenberg;, Leo Mildenberg, Bank Leu (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Severance and Greta Millikin, 1969;, Severance and Greta Millikin (Ripplestone, Gates Mills, Ohio), upon his death, by inheritance to his wife, Greta Milliken, 1985;, Greta Millikin, died 1989 (Ripplestone, Gates Mills, Ohio), upon her death, held in trust by the estate, Estate of Greta Millikin, by bequest to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1989.
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1989.251
  • Medium: silver and gilt silver
  • Department: European Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: Italy, 16th century
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin
  • Collection: Sculpture
  • Accession Number: 1989.251

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps