Madonna And Child

Improved Essays
A prevalent image in art throughout the ages, the portrait of the Madonna and Child is a depiction of Mary holding the infant Christ. Incredibly popular to portray, artists throughout the centuries show a great deal of variety in their depiction of the iconic duo. Found in the National Gallery of Ireland in the early Italian Renaissance gallery, The Virgin and Child, Saint John the Baptist and Prophets by an unknown artist and The Virgin and Child by Paolo Uccello reflect the drastic transition between Byzantine and early Renaissance paintings of the Madonna and Child especially related to subject matter, composition, material, style and meaning. Though these religious paintings of the Madonna and Child depict the same Christian iconography …show more content…
Whereas the devotional aspect was essential to the Byzantine artist, the early Renaissance artist emphasized the bond between mother and child through the naturalistic expression of Mary and Christ. Emphasizing the religious symbolism of the Madonna and Child, the Byzantine painting serves its function as an icon. Known as the “Hodegetria,” the depiction of Mary holding Christ with her left arm and pointing towards him with her right, represents Mary gesturing towards Him as the path to salvation. Rather than maternal love, image reveals theological concept: the intercession of Mary and the benevolent response of Christ. He is shown as truly divine, truly wise, and truly the source of all blessings. In Byzantine times, icons were popular religious tool to evoke veneration and to educate the masses. Thus, for a viewer, this icon of the Madonna and Child allows direct communication with the sacred figures of Mary and Christ and individual prayers could be addressed directly to the holy figures. Drawing from the Byzantine rendition, the Italian Madonna and Child depicts the same iconography but instead emphasizes the relationship between Mary and Christ. In contrast to the Byzantine Madonna and Child, Mary now takes on a more humanist form associated with the early Renaissance. The enhanced naturalistic depiction of Mary, her interaction with her child, as well as her concerned expression for her infant allows viewers to have a closer identification with the Madonna. Rather than an austere image, Mary represents more of a motherly figure playing with the infant Christ offering a link to human nature and providing the archetype of Christian womanhood. Despite the different styles of the paintings, both of the Madonna and Child paintings feature the same subject and stress the same symbolism and

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