Madonna and Child

Creation date
oil on canvas
17-1/4 x 11-3/8 in.
Credit line
Gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge
Accession number
Currently On View

This small Madonna is one of the few known works by Barbara Longhi. Daughter of the Mannerist painter Luca Longhi, her work was praised by contemporaries, including Giorgio Vasari, for its "purity of line and soft brilliance of color."

The subject of the reading Virgin was a popular one in the Renaissance. It exalts a feminine ideal, embodied by the Virgin, in which the ability to read is exercised in the service of prayer. On another level, the book held aloft by the Virgin can be seen as a symbol of the Word. This meaning is reinforced by the figure of the infant Christ, resting his arm against the globe of the world and raising his hand in blessing.

Mrs. Marshall Field (Delia Caton Field) [1859-1937], Chicago and Washington, D.C., at an unknown date; by inheritance to her niece, Mrs. Albert J. (Catherine) Beveridge [1881-1970], Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis, by 1938;{1} given to the John Herron Art Institute, now Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1938 (38.6).

{1}See the biography of Catherine Eddy Beveridge presented in the entry describing her papers, now at the Newberry Library, Chicago.
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820
New York, NY 10118
Tel: 212-736-6666
Fax: 212-736-6767