Virgin and Child

Albrecht Dürer German

Not on view

At first glance, this small painting seems to represent simply the Virgin’s loving attention to her Child, wriggling on her lap. Certain details, however, subtly foreshadow Christ’s sacrifice: Mary’s red dress and cloak signal the color of Christ’s Passion, and her right hand, which is gripping the cloth taut beneath the Child, recalls the actions of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who supported the weight of the dead Christ on a white burial shroud after the Deposition from the cross. The paint surface is unfortunately severely abraded, but what little remains of its original appearance supports Dürer’s authorship.

Virgin and Child, Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg), Oil on spruce

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