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Attributed to Antonello da Messina: 'The Virgin and Child'

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The Virgin Mary is shown not only as the mother of Christ but as the Queen of Heaven, with two angels holding an ornate crown over her head. Christ holds a pomegranate, a symbol of the Passion.

Previously catalogued as by a follower of Antonello, this painting was probably made in the 1460s when Antonello was working in Sicily (he is documented in Messina every year from 1460-65). It probably served for private devotion. The attribution to the artist can be supported by comparing the geometric treatment of the features of the Virgin with the head of the Virgin in the documented S. Gregorio Altarpice of 1473 (Messina, Museo Regionale). The angels and crown are reminiscent of Netherlandish art, examples of which are known to have been in Naples, where Antonello worked.

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