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Pintoricchio, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Pintoricchio
Artist dates active 1481; died 1513
Date made late 15th century
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 53.5 × 35.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number NG703
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child

Pintoricchio painted a number of images of the Virgin and Child of a similar size to this one. Their scale, high level of detail and decoration, and the sweetness of the figures made them highly desirable as beautiful objects and as aids for worship in the home.

This one offers a view through an arched stone window into the world of the holy figures – a wild and expansive landscape of rocky precipices, slender trees and a distant mountain range. Christ is supported by his mother, who bows her head towards him as she delicately grasps his elbow. Christ lifts his robes to reveal his genitals – a sign of his humanity, and proof that he was a child just like those of the woman who would pray before this image. With his other hand he makes a blessing gesture, a reminder of his divine authority.

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