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Madonna and Child, c. 1470-1480

Neroccio de' Landi
Italian, 1447-1500
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
18-1/8 x 12 in. (46.0 x 30.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

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A sculptor as well as a painter, Neroccio de’ Landi was one of the most accomplished artists of late fifteenth-century Siena. His painted productions centered on devotional images of the Madonna and Child. Here their embrace is so close that their faces touch. Mary embraces her Son closely, suggesting affection, and also protection. Iconographically, the gesture recalls an ancient Byzantine prototype for the Virgin of Tenderness. Jesus holds in his hand a swallow, a symbol of His Resurrection.

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