The Madonna and Child: A Popular Theme in Christian Art
The Madonna and Child is a popular theme in Christian art, depicting the Virgin Mary with the infant Christ. This theme was particularly popular during the medieval period, as it symbolized the Virgin's role as the mother of Christ. There are many Madonnas and Childs depicted in The Metropolitan Museum, from a wide range of cultures and periods. These artworks provide a glimpse into how different artists have interpreted this important biblical scene.
Our Lady of Valvanera
This painting depicts the miraculous discovery of the image of Our Lady of Valvanera by the repentant thief-turned-hermit Nuño Oñez, who kneels beside it in adoration.
Hidden in the hollow of an oak tree since the time of the Muslim invasion of Spain, the location of the sacred image was revealed to the hermit in a vision.
The fresh water spring that flows from beneath the tree and the bees that frame the opening in the trunk signal the hidden location.
Madonna and Child
This lyrical work inaugurates the grand tradition in Italian art of envisioning the sacred figures of the Madonna and Child in terms appropriated from real life.
The Christ Child gently pushes away the veil of his mother, whose sorrowful expression reflects her foreknowledge of his crucifixion.
The beautifully modeled drapery enhances their three-dimensional, physical presence and the parapet connects the fictive, sacred world of the painting with the temporal one of the viewer.
The bottom edge of the original frame is marked by candle burns.
Madonna and Child
The Madonna and Child are shown in a contemporary Florentine palace.
Through the window is an arcade with the armorial device of the wealthy Florentine banker Filippo Strozzi (three crescents).
The background evokes the area around the Strozzi villa near Florence.
A Black man can be seen on a bridge spearing fish and outside a house a Black woman performs domestic tasks.
Enslaved people from sub-Saharan Africa began arriving in Florence through Portugal in the 1460s, and documents record the presence of enslaved people in Strozzi's household.
The Madonna and Child are shown in a contemporary Florentine palace
Through the window is an arcade with the armorial device of the wealthy Florentine banker Filippo Strozzi (three crescents)
The background evokes the area around the Strozzi villa near Florence
A Black man can be seen on a bridge spearing fish and outside a house a Black woman performs domestic tasks
Madonna and Child
The painting depicts a group of figures separated from the viewer by a parapet.
The figures are looking at the viewer and have their gazes engaged with the viewer.
The painting is a metaphor for death and rebirth.
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints
This painting was created by Raphael around 1504-5.
It hung in a part of the church reserved for the nuns.
The nuns sold their painting in 1678.
Enthroned Virgin and Child
This sculpture is a Sedes Sapientiae (Throne of Wisdom), in which Mary serves as a throne for Christ, who in turn embodies divine wisdom.
The sculpture was placed on an altar and could also be carried in procession or incorporated into a theatrical performance within a church.
Recent conservation treatment revealed remains of the original painted and applied metal decoration.
Tabernacle Polyptych with the Madonna and Child and Scenes from the Life of Christ
The use of folding shrines in private devotion requires the participation of their owners, who must open the wings in order to contemplate the images.
Here, the form is essentially French, but the weightier proportions and architectural elements are more characteristic of northern Spain.
The form is essentially French, but the weightier proportions and architectural elements are more characteristic of northern Spain.