Madonna and Child with Two Angels (Senigallia Madonna)
Piero della Francesca
(Italian, Sansepolcro ca. 1412–1492 Sansepolcro)
Oil on wood
24 × 21 1/16 in. (61 × 53.5 cm)
Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino
Not on view
Piero painted this picture during the time he was employed by Federico da Montefeltro at the court of Urbino. It seems to have been a gift from Federico to his daughter Giovanna on the occasion of her marriage to Giovanni della Rovere, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. The austere Madonna holds the child as in an ancient icon; two angels stand sentinel in an interior reminiscent of the ducal palace of Urbino. The background room is lit by a shaft of light that was probably intended as a metaphor for the mystery of the revelation of the Light of the World (i.e., Christ).