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Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano
Artist dates about 1459/60 - about 1517/18
Date made probably about 1496-9
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 69.2 × 57.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1858
Inventory number NG300
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child
Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano

The Virgin sits in front of an Italianate landscape, the Christ Child standing on her lap. He twists his body to gaze lovingly at his mother, while her hand cups his left foot.

This picture, with its brilliant blues and greens, is among Cima da Conegliano’s finest works. It is one of several versions of the composition painted by him and his workshop. This one is thought to be mainly by Cima: the clear light and the contrasting colours are very characteristic of his style.

As well as being highly decorative, the composition has a strong underlying geometric structure. The Virgin and Child together form a wide-based triangle, their heads meeting at the apex. Christ’s body makes a narrower triangle, and the shapes of the hills, towns and mountains all echo these forms.

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