The Madonna of the Carnation (1516) by Albrecht Durer

The Madonna of the Carnation - Albrecht Durer - 1516

Artwork Information

TitleThe Madonna of the Carnation
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

About The Madonna of the Carnation

“The Madonna of the Carnation” is a religious painting by Albrecht Dürer, dated to 1516. This artwork is a representation from the Northern Renaissance period and is housed at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, Germany.

In the artwork, the Virgin Mary is depicted with an almost ethereal beauty, which is characteristic of the religious iconography of the time. She holds the Christ Child, who is portrayed as a young, somewhat serious child. The Madonna’s gaze is direct yet tender, suggesting a motherly affection and a profound serenity. Her reddish hair flows down in soft curls, framing her pale face and accentuating her delicate features.

The Child Jesus is clutching a carnation in his left hand, which is a symbol often associated with the Passion of Christ, and in the context of the Madonna and Child, it may also represent the future sacrifice of Jesus. Both figures are rendered with fine detail, from the realistic folds in Mary’s red garment to the intricate creases of the baby’s robe.

The use of color is vibrant yet subdued, with the rich red of Mary’s dress drawing the viewer’s eye and contrasting with the greenish background. The artist’s signature and the date are clearly inscribed at the top of the painting, evidence of Dürer’s practice of signing his works, which was not always common during the period.

Overall, “The Madonna of the Carnation” is a striking example of Albrecht Dürer’s skill at capturing both spiritual significance and human tenderness within a single frame, embodying the ideals and techniques of the Northern Renaissance.

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