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The Virgin and Child with Saints Paul and Jerome
Bartolomeo Vivarini
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The infant Christ wriggles in the embrace of his mother, the Virgin Mary – just like an ordinary baby would. Behind her are two saints, Jerome on the right and Paul on the left. Saint Jerome is wearing the red robes of a cardinal, reflecting his status as a ‘father’ of the Catholic Church. Both figures are squeezed behind the Virgin, rather than stood next to her, suggesting they may have been added to the design at a late stage.

Bartolomeo Vivarini was inspired by the work of the Paduan artist Mantegna, whose style was precise, with strongly defined contours and richly coloured. The saints' faces are tanned and lined with wrinkles which appear to be carved into their faces, similar to Mantegna’s depiction of aged saints. Another similarity to Mantegna’s style is the density of the crisp folds of the draperies which also appear as though finely carved from marble.

Key facts
Artist Bartolomeo Vivarini
Artist dates about 1432? - after 1499?
Full title The Virgin and Child with Saints Paul and Jerome
Date made about 1460s
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 95.3 x 63.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1855
Inventory number NG284
Location in Gallery Not on display
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