BELLINI, Giovanni
(b. ca. 1426, Venezia, d. 1516, Venezia)

Madonna and Child

Oil on panel, 83 x 66 cm
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

The painting, which has been in Bergamo since the 16th century, probably formed part of the dowry of the Carmelite nun Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova, abbess of the Sant'Anna monastery at Albino.

On the parapet in front of the Virgin, a detail present in many other similar compositions, there is a fruit. Like the walled and many-towered city on the right, and the inlet on the left, it is a symbol referring to the Virgin, according to the attributes assigned to her by hymns, analects and lauds ever since the Middle Ages. The mother and child are linked, more than by the tender embracing gesture, by the rapt, reflective gaze with which the Madonna engulf her son. The painting is the prototype from which various similar compositions derive, such as the Madonna and Red Angels of the Accademia in Venice, with the child seated on the Virgin's left knee.