The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Virgin and Child in a Landscape
  • Bernardino Luini (1480 - 1532)
  • The Virgin and Child in a Landscape
  • Italy
  • c.1520
  • Painting
  • Oil on poplar panel
  • Image size: 73.2 x 54.4 cm
  • P8
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The representation of the Virgin as mother holding the Christ Child entered the West through Byzantine art. By the Renaissance, the relationship of mother and child became increasingly imbued with human feeling, as seen here, while the religious sense of the image was conveyed by means of symbolic attributes. The book refers to Christ’s innate wisdom, and may also be a forerunner of the Gospels; the ivory teething stick, with black ribbons, recalls His innocence and suffering and the white sheet, a symbolic winding sheet, foretells His death. The Virgin wears her traditional colours of a red robe beneath a blue cloak, and is posed in an attitude of humility with downcast eyes. In medieval theology, humility was regarded as the basis for all other virtues, and thus as an appropriate attribute of the Mother of Christ. The picture is thought to be an early work by Luini.