Skip to main content

Paolo Morando, The Virgin and Child with the Baptist and an Angel

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child, Saint John the Baptist and an Angel
Artist Paolo Morando
Artist dates about 1486/8 - 1522
Date made probably about 1514-18
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75.6 × 64.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1867
Inventory number NG777
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child with the Baptist and an Angel
Paolo Morando

The Virgin Mary and Christ Child are seated in a leafy grove, accompanied by an angel and the young Saint John the Baptist, Christ’s cousin. Saint John holds a cross wound with a scroll inscribed ‘ECCE AGNUS DEI’ (‘Behold the Lamb of God’), referring to Christ’s future sacrifice for humankind, and presents a lemon to the infant. The inclusion of the lemon is very unusual.

The citron or etrog tree is mentioned in the Bible. In Leviticus 23: 40 Moses commands that its first fruits are offered to God in thanksgiving. In Morando’s painting, the lemon is noticeably the only or first fruit in the grove, suggesting that Saint John is offering it in thanksgiving to Christ as the son of God. The Baptist looks away sadly with the foreknowledge of Christ’s crucifixion, but the infant Christ points to the fruit and turns to us, accepting his destiny and reminding us to give thanks.

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