Madonna and Child Enthroned

Carlo Crivelli Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 537

These three panels are from an altarpiece painted for a Dominican church in the Marchigian town of Ascoli Piceno. It is possible that the child was originally shown reaching for a flying bird, his frequent attribute. The cracked marble dais is a recurrent feature of Crivelli's work. On it are two pears, symbolic of the Fall of Man, and a fly, conceivably an emblem of Satan. Crivelli loved visual tricks, and the shadow cast by the fly gives a disturbingly realistic quality.

Saint George (fourth century) is shown in contemporary, fifteenth-century armor with the dragon he slew. For more information about these paintings, including a reconstruction of the altarpiece, visit

Madonna and Child Enthroned, Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venice (?), active by 1457–died 1494/95 Ascoli Piceno), Tempera on wood, gold ground

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