The Virgin and Child with Saints

about 1535-40, Parmigianino

On loan from a private collection, © Private collection 2011

The Virgin reaches for the Child’s arm as he embraces his young cousin Saint John, who responds in a gesture of prayer.

Mary Magdalene supports the Child from behind and, in this unusual composition, reappears above, emanating rays of light as she is received into heaven. She is identified by the pearls and grooming tools, including a stiletto hairpin, in the foreground.

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