(b. 1494, Pontormo, d. 1557, Firenze)

Madonna and Child with St. Joseph and Saint John the Baptist

Oil on canvas transferred from wood, 120 x 99 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

In this superb example of Pontormo's style, the theme of a premonition of the predestined Passion grows smoothly from the centre to the edges and from the surface into the depth. From the infant amusing himself wit a young goldfinch, our gaze shifts to the Virgin's sad face, then to the resigned faces of Joseph and John the baptist, before finally plunging into the agitated gloom of the firmament, in front of the ominous cross looms.

Formerly the painting was attributed to Rosso Fiorentino.