European Art: 14th-16th Centuries

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Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1480-85

Neroccio de 'Landi

Italian, 1447-1500
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
comp: 29-1/2 x 24-3/8 in. (74.9 x 61.9 cm); panel: 32 x 27-1/8 in. (81.3 x 68.9 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.2011.1.1.P
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Neroccio's activity as a painter centered on the production of intimate devotional images that are noteworthy for their consistently high quality. This image of the Virgin nursing evokes a poetic mood. To the left stands St. John the Baptist, dressed as a hermit in a hair shirt. On his banderole is the inscription "ECC [E AGNUS DEI]" ("This is the Lamb of God"). At right, St. Catherine of Alexandria holds a palm branch and a small spiked wheel, identifying her as a martyr. The composition is conceived like a low relief, with strong side lighting that accentuates the modeling of the figures. Although the paint on this panel has been abraded, Neroccio's refined, elegant figure style and soft, pale palette are fully developed here.

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