CHARONTON, Enguerrand
(b. ca. 1410, Laon, d. ca. 1466, Avignon)

The Virgin of Mercy

Panel, 66 x 187 cm
Musée Condé, Chantilly

Of the two known authentic works of Charonton The Virgin of Mercy (Madone de Miséricorde) was commissioned by the royal physician Jean Cadard. It is a study for the great composition of the Coronation of the Virgin. St. John the Baptist and the kneeling donor, and St. John the Evangelist and the donor's wife, occupy the left and right hand sides of the composition. In the centre the Madonna, in a gold brocade robe, extends the protection of her blue mantle to the churchmen and laymen sheltering beneath it. When the painting was transferred from wood to canvas the golden background was somewhat damaged. The standing figures divide the composition into three vertical areas - the spaces between them being filled by the kneeling figures. The different sizes of the figures produce a well-balanced rhythm. The gentle charm of the faces and the serene mood of the whole give this picture a particular attraction.