The Virgin and Child (1426) by Masaccio

The Virgin and Child - Masaccio - 1426

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Virgin and Child
Dimensions136 x 73 cm
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery, London

About The Virgin and Child

The artwork titled “The Virgin and Child” is a creation of the artist Masaccio, crafted in the year 1426. Executed in tempera, this painting is a quintessential example of the Early Renaissance art movement. It is a religious painting with dimensions measuring 136 by 73 centimeters. Presently, the artwork is housed at the National Gallery in London, where it continues to captivate audiences with its spiritual narrative and historical significance.

The artwork is a devotional composition that centers on the figures of the Virgin Mary and the infant Christ. The Virgin is depicted seated, cloaked in a deep blue robe with gilded embellishments reflecting her sacred status. She holds the Christ Child tenderly in her lap, who is portrayed with a soft, childlike innocence, his hand gesturing as though in mid-conversation or blessing. The Madonna’s gaze is solemn and introspective, suggesting a deep awareness of her Son’s future sacrifice.

The setting of the painting is an architectural throne, suggesting both divinity and royalty, further underlined by the use of gold leaf in the background and haloes. The throne is flanked by arches adorned with intricate designs, emphasizing the work’s attention to detail and the period’s interest in the revival of classical architectural elements. Below, two adoring angels contribute to the sacred atmosphere—one strums a lute while the other plays a portable organ, their postures reflecting a harmonious engagement with the divine scene above.

This artistic representation merges the spiritual with the real, showcasing Masaccio’s skill in capturing human emotion and the new Renaissance interest in three-dimensional space and naturalism. The artwork is imbued with symbolic meaning, revered not only for its aesthetic qualities but also as a medium for contemplation of the divine mother and child relationship.

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