The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
Florence, the 1480s
Tempera on canvas
130.7 x 91.4 cm
The Virgin lowers the infant Christ to embrace his cousin, John the Baptist. Christ recognises that Saint John will pave the way for his own divine mission. The complex poses and the narrow composition create an intimate image focused on Christ’s humanity.
Sandro Botticelli ran a successful studio in Florence, producing religious and mythological scenes. Popular compositions such as this were repeated with variations by members of his studio. The quality of this work, however, suggests that Botticelli was largely responsible.
Purchased 1943 (No.43.10)