Madonna and Child

Berlinghiero Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 601

Featuring solemn, highly stylized beauty, this is one of only two works that can be confidently attributed to Berlinghiero, the leading painter in the Tuscan city of Lucca. It follows the Byzantine type known as the Virgin Hodegetria (She Who Shows the Way), that the artist would have known from icons that arrived in Italy following the fall of Constantinople in 1204. Christ’s mother points to her son as the way to salvation; dressed like an ancient philosopher, the child holds a scroll. As one scholar has noted: "Berlinghiero’s work operates with nuances . . . the language of gestures, with their gentle flow and their subtle meaning on both human and theological levels."

Madonna and Child, Berlinghiero (Italian, Lucca, active by 1228–died by 1236), Tempera on wood, gold ground

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