FERRARI, Defendente
(b. ca. 1485, Chivasso, d. after 1540)

Nursing Madonna

Tempera and oil on panel, 75 x 48 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Mary is sitting in front of a red curtain, on which a few decorative elements are just visible at the top. In her arms she is cradling the infant Jesus, who is moving aside the white cloth he is lying on, in search of his mother's breast. The painting depicts a spontaneous gesture, perhaps inspired by the work of German painter, Albrecht Dürer, which accentuates the sense of intimacy between Virgin and Child. This iconography was widely acclaimed in Piedmont.

The painting, now in the Uffizi, is distinctive because of the unique position of the Child. Instead of looking at the beholder, he is looking at his mother, a detail that accentuates the intimate, private mood of this holy image. The geometric folds of the robes and the painstaking attention to detail, such as the beautifully painted golden gallon and the pearls on the Virgin's mantle, reveal the influence of Flemish painting.