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The Virgin holds the naked infant Christ who stands on a stone ledge and raises his hand in blessing. We do not know the identity of the saints behind them, but the older one may be Saint Jerome or Saint Anthony Abbot.
Francia used his central image of the Virgin and Child several times for other compositions, changing the saints that accompany them. The Madonna and Child with Saints Sebastian and Anthony Abbot (Alte Pinakothek, Munich) is almost identical to the National Gallery’s picture. A full-sized drawing, or cartoon, would have been used to trace and transfer the design. The degree of copying suggests that Francia’s assistants may have been involved in painting these pictures.
perhaps about 1500-10
Oil on wood
H 78.1 x W 62.2 cm