Madonna and Child with John the Baptist (1518 – 1520) by Albrecht Durer

Madonna and Child with John the Baptist - Albrecht Durer - 1518 - 1520

Artwork Information

TitleMadonna and Child with John the Baptist
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1518 - 1520
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About Madonna and Child with John the Baptist

The artwork titled “Madonna and Child with John the Baptist” is a religious painting by Albrecht Dürer, created between 1518 and 1520 during the Northern Renaissance. This piece is indicative of the religious themes popular at the time, particularly in the context of Northern Europe’s humanist influences and the detailed, naturalistic style associated with the Renaissance.

The artwork presents a fine, delicate drawing showing the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child, with a young John the Baptist gazing towards them, identifiable by the reed cross he clasps. The drawing is monochromatic, likely done in ink, which showcases Dürer’s meticulous attention to detail and his exceptional draftsmanship.

Mary is seated and portrayed with a serene and gentle expression, gazing directly at the viewer. The Christ Child, held comfortably in her arms, appears lively and plump, grasping at his mother. The figures are clothed in drapery that is rendered with care, emphasizing the textures of the fabric and the intricate folds. John the Baptist, standing to the right, looks on intently, with his own expression of childlike wonder. His depiction with the cross foreshadows his future role as a prophet heralding Jesus’s message.

The drawing displays a high level of skill in illustrating the human form, as well as in treatment of light and shadow to create depth. The overall composition projects both a sense of tenderness and divine tranquility, hallmarks of many depictions of biblical subjects during the Renaissance. The interplay between the gaze of the figures and the observer creates an engaging visual narrative that invites contemplation of the sacred subjects depicted.

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