The Virgin clasps the Child lovingly and caresses his face with her fingers. Jesus, wrapped in a fine white material, is fast asleep. Probably the image is a foreshadowing of the death of Christ. The white cloth which enfolds the body of the Child evokes the shroud in which he was to be buried, while the Virgin’s absorbed and melancholy expression alludes to his future Passion. The pyramidal structure of the composition is emphasized by Mary’s mantle, which frames the two bodies as a single compact form, heightening her protective attitude.
Dated towards the end of the fifteenth century, the work was painted directly onto a canvas with a very fine texture, clearly visible in the lighter zones under the delicate layer of pigment.


  • Title: The Virgin and Child
  • Creator: Andrea Mantegna
  • Date Created: 1490 - 1500
  • Physical Dimensions: w35.5 x h45.2 cm
  • Rights: Fondazione artistica Poldi Pezzoli "Onlus"
  • External Link: http://www.museopoldipezzoli.it/#!/en/discover/collections/730
  • Medium: Tempera on panel

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