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Workshop of Giovanni Bellini, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Workshop of Giovanni Bellini
Artist dates about 1435 - 1516
Date made perhaps about 1475
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 81.9 × 62.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lady Lindsay, 1912
Inventory number NG2901
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child
Workshop of Giovanni Bellini

Demand for Bellini’s small-scale images of the Virgin and Child was so high that he had a large workshop of assistants who worked under his supervision, producing paintings in his style.

Here Christ is dressed in a white tunic, a gold cloth draped around his chubby body, and is propped up against two luxurious tasselled cushions. The Virgin, whose skin is so smooth and white that she resembles a marble statue, looks down towards Christ, resting her fingertips together in prayer. Unusually, her mantle is red, rather than the more traditional blue.

When this picture was cleaned it was discovered that Bellini’s signature was not original, and nor was the cartellino (piece of parchment or paper depicted within a painting) on which it appeared; both were removed. It was possibly added by a former owner – or a dealer – who wished to give the impression the picture was by Bellini (even though workshop pictures often included the master’s signature as a seal of his design and supervision).

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