Virgin and Child (15th century) by Hans MemlingMNAA National Museum of Ancient Art
The Madonna with Child. It’s probably not the first time you’ve seen one! However, every master can infuse his own poetry in painting. No matter how many times a subject is reproduced, it will always be a work of art.
The child’s look over the edges of the painting implies the presence of an outer element. In fact, Memling used to set a second panel on the Madonna’s right, which was supposed to portray the commissioner of this kind of devotional images.
The sacred figures lie on a windowsill, as if they are overlooking our world…
…allowing us to contemplate Mary’s face, caressed by the oil painting. Her expression is unfathomable. It’s impossible to know if she’s showing affection for her child or pain for the tragic fate awaiting him.
By offering the apple to Jesus, Mary evokes Eve’s act and subverts its meaning: from carrier of sin to bearer of salvation.
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