The Virgin is seated in front of a laurel bush (hence the French title 'La Vierge aux Lauriers'), which was associated with distinction, and here acts as a halo. A rose bush surrounds the Child Jesus; its flowers were associated with purity and suffering.

Formerly attributed to Giorgione, Moretto, and Palma Vecchio, this was once a very famous painting. It is clearly indebted to the work of Palma and indeed the young Titian, however it has been so extensively overpainted that attribution is extremely difficult.

Key facts

Artist
Full title
The Virgin and Child with Roses and Laurels ('La Vierge aux Lauriers')
Date made
about 1510-20
Medium and support
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions
90.7 x 72.3 cm
Acquisition credit
Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number
NG2495
Location in Gallery