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Bernardino Fungai, The Virgin and Child with Cherubim

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child with Cherubim
Artist Bernardino Fungai
Artist dates 1460 - probably 1516
Date made probably about 1495-1510
Medium and support Tempera and oil on wood
Dimensions 119.4 × 118.1 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by William Connal, 1891
Inventory number NG1331
Location Gallery B
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child with Cherubim
Bernardino Fungai

This painting combines the intense use of gilded decorative pattern favoured by the artists of Fungai’s hometown, Siena, with a more freely painted landscape background inspired by his Umbrian contemporaries, like Perugino.

The Virgin Mary embraces the infant Christ. The dazzling gold and white cloak she wears was usually reserved for images of her glorious ascension to heaven at her Assumption or of her coronation by Christ as Queen of Heaven. The image of the Virgin ascending to heaven in splendour was particularly important in Siena and the use of these colours here may be intended to recollect this event.

The circular shape (called a tondo) had become popular in the mid-fifteenth century, and here gives Fungai the space to depict, on the left, a nativity scene as well as an angel swooping down to share the news of Christ’s birth with a group of shepherds. On the right, the retinue of the Three Kings arrives.

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