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The Madonna and Child with Saints
Moretto da Brescia
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This altarpiece was probably made for the high altar of a Franciscan church dedicated to the celebrated preacher Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444). He is shown in the centre holding the sign of the name of Jesus (IHS) and a related text from the Gospel of John.

Moretto da Brescia painted several altarpieces in which the Virgin and Child appear in the clouds. Standing to left and right of Saint Bernardino are Saint Jerome, with his attribute of a lion, and Saint Nicholas of Bari, who holds three golden balls. Saint Joseph, leaning against his flowering rod, and Saint Francis kneel and gaze up at the Virgin and Child, who are flanked by two female saints.

The Virgin turns to Saint Clare (1194–1253), who founded the female branch of the Franciscan Order, the Poor Clares. The infant Christ places a ring on Saint Catherine of Alexandria’s finger, alluding to the legend that she had a ‘mystic marriage’ with Christ.

Key facts
Artist Moretto da Brescia
Artist dates about 1498 - 1554
Full title The Virgin and Child with Saint Bernardino and Other Saints
Date made about 1540-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 358 x 233 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1859
Inventory number NG625
Location in Gallery Room 2
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