Skip to main content
The Virgin and Child
Masaccio
/

This was the central panel of a large altarpiece made for the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Pisa. The Virgin’s sturdy form, which looks similar to contemporary Florentine sculpture, casts a shadow against the carved throne. Christ’s body seems fleshy and three-dimensional; Masaccio has done this by showing how certain areas catch the light, painting them with a lighter tone. His ability to represent holy figures as though they were human was innovative and influential.

Masaccio also used the new technique of single-point perspective, which helped to make certain objects appear closer and others further away. This is clearest in the ‘V’ shape created by the angle of the angel’s lutes.

Christ is shown eating grapes. It’s a reminder of the wine of the Eucharist, which Christians drink in remembrance of the blood Christ shed at his crucifixion, a scene of which would have sat above this image.

Key facts
Artist Masaccio
Artist dates 1401 - 1428/9?
Full title The Virgin and Child
Date made 1426
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 134.8 x 73.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with a contribution from the Art Fund, 1916
Inventory number NG3046
Location in Gallery Room 60
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