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.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
active 1456; died 1479
Full title
The Virgin and Child
Date made
about 1460-9
Medium and support
Oil on wood
Dimensions
43.2 x 34.3 cm
Acquisition credit
Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number
NG2618
Location in Gallery