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Style of Bonifazio di Pitati, The Madonna and Child with Saints

Key facts
Full title The Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Catherine of Alexandria
Artist Style of Bonifazio di Pitati
Artist dates 1487 - 1553
Date made probably 1530-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 73 × 119.4 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Alfred A. de Pass, 1920
Inventory number NG3536
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Madonna and Child with Saints
Style of Bonifazio di Pitati

Saint Catherine sits reading a book on the left, beside the broken spiked wheel on which she was tortured during her martyrdom. The Virgin Mary’s elderly cousin Saint Elizabeth sits on the right holding her son, the infant John the Baptist. He wears his traditional camel skin and holds a scroll that reads ‘Ecce Agnus Dei’ (‘Behold the Lamb of God’), signifying Christ’s future sacrifice for humankind. The Christ Child turns on his mother’s lap to look at Saint Catherine, who gazes out of the picture at us. There are some traces of scribbled writing on the pier behind Saint Catherine but it is not clear what, if anything, they mean.

The poor quality of the painting suggests that Bonifazio was not personally involved in making the picture; it may have been put together by a follower from a combination of motifs from Bonifazio’s work. The costumes can be dated to the early 1530s.

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