(b. 1430/35, Venezia, d. 1495, Camerino)
Virgin and Childc. 1480
Tempera on panel, 49 x 34 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A native of Venice, Crivelli spent his career mostly in the Marches, along Italy's Adriatic coast, where he perfected a very personal art of intense emotion and ornamental splendour.
This painting is a small devotional picture showing a Madonna and Child embraced, standing before a parapet. The Madonna wears a lavish gilded stucco mantle in the Gothic fashion and stands before a dark red embroidered cloth of honour with on top a swag of fruits. In the background is a distant hilly landscape with green trees on the left and a leafless tree on the right, enlivened by the deep blue hues of the sky. Fruits and flowers in this composition enclose Christian symbolic meanings alluding to the life of Christ and are not therefore mere decorative devices. Pictures of this kind were very popular in the 15th century and appear to constitute an important part of Crivelli's oeuvre.