The Madonna and Child with the Infant Baptist (?) and Saints Paul and Catherine of Siena

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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The Virgin looks up from her book at us and Christ, sitting on her lap, gestures to himself – his future crucifixion is the subject of her text. The young Saint John the Baptist, wearing his traditional rough camel skin, clasps his hands in prayer. Saint Paul stands to the left holding his usual attribute of the sword by which he was martyred. Saint Catherine of Siena, dressed in white as a lay member of the Dominican Order, holds a lily as a symbol of her purity. This composition was evidently a popular design as it was repeated – at least two versions are known which include Saint Sebastian instead of Saint Paul, and there are also other variants. The Brescianino brothers, Andrea and Raffaello, worked together on the Baptism of Christ for Siena Cathedral.

The National Gallery, London



The Madonna and Child with the Infant Baptist (?) and Saints Paul and Catherine of Siena




Oil on wood


H 71.8 x W 53.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Sir Claude Phillips Bequest, 1924

Work type



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