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The Virgin and Child with Roses and Laurels
Italian, North
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The Virgin Mary sits on a stone bench and holds the infant Christ on a cushion on her lap. She may have just lifted him and the cushion from the low wall in front of her.

The flowers of the rose bush behind Christ are associated with purity and suffering, and are intended to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice for humanity. The laurel bush behind the Virgin is a symbol of distinction and acts as a halo behind her head. The identity of the other shrub behind her is not clear; it probably has an additional meaning relating to the Virgin.

This picture, which was once very famous, was formerly believed to be by Giorgione, Moretto da Brescia or Palma Vecchio. Unfortunately it is so damaged and has been so extensively overpainted over the years that it is now very difficult to tell who it is by.

Key facts
Artist Italian, North
Full title The Virgin and Child with Roses and Laurels ('La Vierge aux Lauriers')
Date made about 1510-20
Medium and support Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 90.7 x 72.3 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2495
Location in Gallery Not on display
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