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Alvise Vivarini, Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title Virgin and Child
Artist Alvise Vivarini
Artist dates living 1457; died 1503/5
Date made about 1483-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 80.2 × 64.8 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mrs Annelie George from the estate of Peter Hayes George, made possible by his mother Patricia Lady Cooper, Alice Lady Cooper and Sir William H. Cooper Bt, 2019
Inventory number NG6682
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Virgin and Child
Alvise Vivarini

Painted in an assured and sensitive way, this is a particularly lyrical example of Alvise Vivarini’s achievements as a painter of devotional images. He painted the Virgin and Child many times, always placing them in a sparse interior behind a parapet, against a green curtain pulled back from a window overlooking a mountainous landscape. Even so, his approach to the subject was never repetitive, as we can see by comparing this painting with another, The Virgin and Child, on the same subject by him in the Gallery’s collection. Deep contrasting colours, such as Mary’s red robe and the dark green curtain behind her, make the figures appear more three-dimensional. This also focuses our attention on their interaction as, with a tender embrace, the Virgin steadies the Christ Child who is perched on the ledge in front of her. Their faces almost touch and the outline of their profiles mirror one another conveying their close bond.

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