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The Virgin Mary tenderly supports the infant Christ in her arms. Gilded backgrounds like this derived from icon paintings produced in the Byzantine (Eastern Christian) Empire. By the time the picture was made, they had largely been replaced in Italian painting by landscape or architectural backdrops. Christ’s blessing gesture, a sign of his divine authority, is also derived from Byzantine art.
This work is one of many versions of a design that has sometimes been associated with the Umbrian artist Perugino.
The Virgin and Child in a Mandorla with Cherubim
Tempera on wood
H 46 x W 32 cm
Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863