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The Virgin and Child
Workshop of Bernardino Luini

The Christ Child stands on a stone parapet leaning against his mother, who turns to meet his gaze. He wraps one arm tenderly about her neck as she holds him gently around his waist in a very natural pose. In his other hand he holds an apple, a symbol of the Fall of humankind that he will redeem by his Crucifixion. The little green book held by the Virgin is probably the Old Testament, which foretells Christ’s future sacrifice – she is marking her page with her thumb. The young Virgin’s foreknowledge of Christ’s destiny adds deep poignancy to the look exchanged between mother and son.

The painting has sometimes been accepted as an original work by Luini, but it was probably made by his workshop or may even be an early copy.

Key facts
Artist Workshop of Bernardino Luini
Artist dates about 1480 - 1532
Full title The Virgin and Child
Date made early 16th century
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 48.9 x 43.8 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3090
Location in Gallery Not on display
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