Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Madonna of the Meadow

(click to enlarge)
Giovanni Bellini
(Italian, 1430-1516)
The Madonna of the Meadow, 1505
Oil on canvas
It presents a medieval iconography of the Virgin of humility seated before a full and shining rural panorama, with both the devotional aspect and the landscape aspect given equal prominence. Full of small details of everyday life, this landscape contributes to the intimate and familiar tone of the two figures. The raven in the tree also possibly symbolizes death. The figures' poses invite meditation on Jesus's death and passion, recalling Pietà compositions with the dead adult Jesus in his mother's lap.
 from wikipedia

Notice also the snake and egret fighting below death. They symbolize the fight between good and evil and the reason for Christ's sacrifice (the serpent's entry into Eden). And notice how the city in the background is divided from death by Mary and Jesus!


  1. You pick good paintings, Rosemary!

  2. Oh, I love this! The colors! And the symbolism, so awesome. I see how the clouds are dark to one side, the "death" side, but light and fluffy on the other. :) Baby Jesus also has His hand near His heart...reminiscent of depictions of the Sacred Heart.