Virgin and Child with a Dragonfly

Master of Saint Giles Netherlandish/French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 953

Mary, the picture of serene radiance, gazes down at her child as he delicately holds a thread, which itself entraps a dragonfly. Further reinforcing the insect's captivity, Christ uses his thumb and index finger to ensnare the winged creature, which was understood as a symbol of the devil to contemporary viewers. The painting thus functions as a reminder of Christ’s triumph over Satan and his offering of salvation through his incarnation, death and resurrection. The green background is a later addition to the scene that covers areas of damage to the painting's paper support.

Virgin and Child with a Dragonfly, Master of Saint Giles (Netherlandish and French, active ca. 1500), Oil and tempera (?) on paper laid down on oak panel, Netherlandish and French

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