Madonna and Child
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood panel
"Behind a marbelized parapet, a seated, three-quarter length female figure (the Virgin Mary) holds a naked child (Christ). The Virgin Mary wears a white veil over her head and around her neck, and an aquamarine robe and mantel. The Christ child holds his left hand at his chin; his right arm is bent at the elbow. In the distance, behind the Christ child head, is a fortress with a central tower set upon a steep hill. In the right background is a vista of blue mountains. A narrow billowing cloud extends across the sky. Giovanni Bellini was the greatest painter of the late 15th century in Venice, where oil paint first began to replace tempera as a favored medium for artists. With the richer more varied effects of oil combined with pigments, Bellini was able to convey a greater sense of naturalism and atmospheric unity and to take full advantage of light to express emotion. In this Madonna and Child, Bellini created a golden light that unites the looming figures of the Madonna and Child, thrust toward the spectator's space. The tower above the Child's head may refer to the 18th Psalm, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer… and my high tower," but the site has yet to be identified."