Skip to main content

Italian, Florentine, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Italian, Florentine
Date made probably about 1450-75
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 49.5 × 33.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Carmichael; entered the Collection, 1956
Inventory number NG6266
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child
Italian, Florentine

The Christ Child sits on the lap of his mother, the Virgin Mary, and looks directly at us. He holds a little bird in his left hand. In many religious paintings Christ is shown with a goldfinch, a symbol of the Passion (Christ’s torture and crucifixion). The bird here is missing the typical red plumage around the beak, but it may still symbolise the Passion – this would explain the sorrowful gaze with which the Virgin looks at her son.

While the Virgin wears several layers of veils and garments, Christ is wrapped in a simple white cloth, leaving most of his body exposed. The wall that could provide protection is crumbling, giving way to a distant landscape.

The meticulous attention to detail in the depiction of the wall recalls the work of Fra Diamante, one of the most gifted pupils of the Florentine painter Fra Filippo Lippi.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

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.

Download low-resolution image

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

Creative Commons Logo