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Carlo Crivelli, The Immaculate Conception

Key facts
Full title The Immaculate Conception
Artist Carlo Crivelli
Artist dates about 1430/5 - about 1494
Date made 1492
Medium and support Egg on wood
Dimensions 194.3 × 93.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1874
Inventory number NG906
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Immaculate Conception
Carlo Crivelli

Crivelli painted this unusual image of the Virgin standing alone with no Christ Child for the church of San Francesco, Pergola, a little town in the north of the Italian Marche. The Virgin is depicted in a particular role, surrounded by symbols and texts that express the idea that she was conceived ‘Immaculate’ – that is, without original sin.

She stands in a marble niche against a burnished gold ground, indicating that she is in heaven. Two angels hover above her head, carrying a banner with the words, ‘As from the beginning I was conceived in the mind of God, so have I in like manner been conceived in the flesh’. At the top of the painting, God the Father looks down from the blue cloud of heaven, his right hand raised immediately above the dove of the Holy Ghost, which floats down to the Virgin on golden rays.

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