DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

Madonna and Child by a Tree

Engraving, 118 x 75 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Infant Christ is holding a pear in his left hand. The picture is modest in expression and stands midway between the Madonna with the Pear and the Madonna by the Wall; simple and communicative as some of the old Florentine renderings. Its relationship to Raphael is remarkable. The Virgin, her eyes closed, presses the Infant Christ close to herself, but the child does not quite understand the caressing and turns to look at the beholder. A comparison with earlier representations of the subject reveals in what a masterly fashion Dürer now works.

This engraving inspired the prints of the same theme by Jan Gossart and his contemporaries, Lucas van Leyden, Frans Crabbe, Nicolas Hogenberg, and Dirck Vellert.