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The Virgin and Child with Saints
Andrea Previtali
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This painting, which has suffered extensive damage and is currently undergoing conservation, is signed and dated on the paper on the marble ledge. The writing translates as: ‘Andrea thread and needle follower of Giovanni Bellini painted this in 1504.’ Andrea Previtali signed himself ‘thread and needle’ because his father was a tailor. Previtali’s painting is similar to Giovanni Bellini’s Giovanelli Sacra Conversazione (Accademia, Venice), which may explain why he signed his name as well as his own.

The infant Christ places a ring on Saint Catherine’s finger, echoing her vision that she had a ‘mystic marriage’ with Christ. The Virgin holds Saint Catherine’s finger while Saint John the Baptist watches. The painting would probably have been used for private devotion at home.

A painting by Previtali in S. Giobbe in Venice with the same composition is likely to have been painted first and the National Gallery picture painted later by Previtali.

Key facts
Artist Andrea Previtali
Artist dates about 1480 - 1528
Full title The Virgin and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Catherine
Date made 1504
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 66.3 x 87.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1894
Inventory number NG1409
Location in Gallery Not on display
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