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Lorenzo di Credi, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Lorenzo di Credi
Artist dates about 1458 - 1537
Date made about 1480-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 71.1 × 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG593
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child
Lorenzo di Credi

The Virgin Mary is seated directly in front of us. Together with swathes of drapery, she covers almost the entire picture plane, forming a triangular shape that is set off against the dark background. Light radiating from the front brings out the vibrant colours of her garments. These colours are taken up by the flowers in the glass vase that stands on a table near the window. The naked Christ Child is seated on a tasselled pillow in her lap, his legs crossed. He reaches for his mother but gazes at us while breastfeeding.

Such intimate portrayals of the Virgin and infant Christ were very popular in the fifteenth century, and the Florentine painter Lorenzo di Credi specialised in their production. We don't know for whom he made this painting, but it could have been a member of a confraternity particularly devoted to Tobias and the Archangel Raphael, who are approaching from an alley in the background.

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