Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene (c.1560) by Titian

Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene - Titian - c.1560

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Artwork Information

TitleMadonna and Child with Mary Magdalene
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene

The artwork titled “Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene” is an oil painting on canvas created circa 1560 by the esteemed artist Titian. It is an exemplary piece of the Mannerist era, falling within the Late Renaissance period. This religious painting embodies spiritual themes characteristic of the era and is currently housed at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork captivates with its warm, rich colors and intimate portrayal of its figures. At the center is the Virgin Mary, clad in a red garment with a blue cloak, typical of her iconography, signifying love and divinity. She gently supports the Christ Child, who stands nude as a symbol of purity and innocence, in her lap. Her demeanor is one of tender maternal care, as she looks down upon her child with evident affection.

To the left in the composition, Mary Magdalene gazes up towards the Holy Mother and Child with a look of devotion and reverence. The Magdalene is traditionally depicted in bright, contrasting colors which here include a gold-yellow garment reflecting her wealthy background and later penitent life. She holds an ointment jar, which is symbolic of her anointing Christ’s feet in the New Testament, identifying her within the biblical context.

The interplay of light and shadow is rendered with artistic mastery, adding depth and dimension to the scene. The flesh tones are rendered softly yet with palpable texture, a testament to Titian’s skillful hand. Both the figures and the use of chiaroscuro—the contrast between light and dark—suggest movement and volume, creating a vivid scene that encapsulates the divine narrative. Through this effective use of color, light, and profound emotional expression, Titian communicates the sacred nature of the subject matter and the holy figures portrayed.

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