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Madonna and child and the young St John the Baptist
 
16th Century
BACHIACCA
Madonna and child and the young St John the Baptist
[Madonna con bambino e San Giovannino]
c.1540-50
Oil on canvas
148 x 113 cm  [HxW]
Patrick Matthiesen Fine Art Ldt., Londra
 

The highly lit, elongated, idealised figures that dominate the foreground with their strong colours contrast with the more naturalistic rural scene. St John appears in an animal skin to indicate his adult life as a preacher penitent in the desert. The wheat upon which the Christ child rests alludes to communion bread. Roses and jasmine represent the purity of the Virgin and Christ’s passion and the acanthus plant by the Madonna’s elbow alludes to the Roman spear, which would pierce Christ’s side at his crucifixion.

 
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