Skip to main content
Madonna of the Meadow
Giovanni Bellini
/

The Virgin Mary adores the Christ Child sleeping on her lap. Giovanni Bellini was one of the first Italian painters to use natural settings to enhance the meaning of his pictures. Here, the still Virgin contrasts with the landscape, where the varying shapes of the clouds, from thin and wispy to fat and fluffy, and the shadows on them give the impression of changeable weather. The clarity of the light, which casts a pale glow on everything it touches, from the Virgin’s right sleeve to the walls of the castle in the distance, suggests it is springtime.

Christ’s pose would have reminded contemporary viewers of a type of picture known as the Lamentation, or pietà, which showed Christ after his death lying across his mother’s knees. And yet the carefully observed landscape evokes hopefulness: spring is a time of renewal in nature and of Easter, the moment of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Key facts
Artist Giovanni Bellini
Artist dates about 1435 - 1516
Full title Madonna of the Meadow
Date made about 1500-5
Medium and support Oil on synthetic panel, transferred from wood
Dimensions 66.5 × 85.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1858
Inventory number NG599
Location in Gallery Room 55
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo