art JUroatf Series
Each volume profusely illustrated with full-page plates
lift of Citleg
THE WHISTLER BOOK $2.50
By Sadakichi Hartmann
ARTS AND CRAFTS IN THE MIDDLE AGES . 3.00
By Julia de Wolf Addison
PORTRAITS AND PORTRAIT PAINTING . . 2.50
By Estelle M. Hinll
A HISTORY OF AMERICAN ART. 2 vols. . . 4.00
By Sadakichi Hartmann
THE MADONNA IN ART 1.50
By Esteile M. Hurll
CHILD LIFE IN ART 1,50
By Estelle M. Hurll
ANGELS IN ART 1.50
By Clara Erskine Clement
SAINTS IN ART 1.50
By Clara Erskine Clement
HEROINES OF THE BIBLE IN ART . . . 1.50
By Clara Erskine Clement
JAPANESE ART 150
By Sadakichi Hartmann
SHAKESPEARE IN ART 1.50
By Sadakichi Hartmann
LOVE IN ART . 1.50
By Mary Knight Potter
CLASSIC MYTHS IN ART 150
By Julia de W, Addison
CHRIST IN ART 150
By Joseph Lewis French
BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN ART .... 1.50
By Armand Dayot
FAMOUS BEAUTIES IN ART .... 1.50
By Armand Dayot
MUSIC IN ART 1.50
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L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.
Estelle fVL Hurl
? o/ "CklM Lffe in
Beaat/ful, ' ' etc.
BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
All rights reserved
Seventeenth Impression, February,
E lectrotyped and Printed />_>-
THE COLONIAL PRESS
C. H. S intends & Co., Boston, U* S. A
I. THE PORTRAIT MADONNA 23
II. THE MADONNA ENTHRONED . , 37
III. THE MADONNA IN THE SKY . , 65
IV. THE PASTORAL MADONNA 91
V. THE MADONNA IN A HOME ENVIRON-
VI, THE MADONNA OF LOVE . . . 131
VII. THE MADONNA IN ADORATION . . 158
VIII. THE MADONNA AS WITNESS . , 182
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . ,210
GIORGIONE Madonna of Castelfranco
Parish Churchy Castelfranco.
JACOPO BELLINI . . . Madonna and Child , . . 27
Venice A cademy.
GABRIEL MAX .... Madonna and Child . . . 33
PERUGINO . . . , , Madonna and Saints. (De-
Vatican Gallery ^ Rome.
GIOVANNI BELLINI . . Madonna of San Zaccaria.
Church of San Zticcaria, Venice.
VERONESE Madonna and Saints ... 57
Venice A cademy*
QUENTIN MASSYS . . Madonna and Child . . . 61
FRA ANGELICO . . . Madonna della Stella . . 67
Monastery of San Marco, Florence.
UMBRIAN SCHOOL , . Glorification of the Virgin . 71
National Gallery > London.
MORETTO Madonna in Glory .... 75
Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Verona.
SPANISH SCHOOL . . . Madonna on the Crescent
Moon ....... 83
BOUGUEREAU . . . Madonna of the Angels . . 87
RAPHAEL Madonna in the Meadow . 95
Belvedere Gallery, Vienna.
LEONARDO DA VINCI . Madonna of the Rocks . . 101
National Gallery, London.
PALMA VECCHIO . . . Santa Conversazione . . . 109
Belvedere Gallery, Vienna.
FILIPPINO LIPPI . . . Madonna in a Rose Garden 113
Pvtti Gallery, Florence.
SCHONGAUER .... Holy Family 119
Belvedere Gallery, Vienna.
RAPHAEL Madonna dell' Impannata . 1 23
Pitti Gallery, Florence.
CORRSGGIO Madonna della Scala . . . 139
TITIAN Madonna and Saints. (De-
Belvedere Galleryt Vienna.
DflRER Madonna and Child , . . 151
Belvedere Gallery > Vienna.
BODENHAUSEN . . . . Madonna and Child . . . 155
Private Gallery, Washington, D, C.
ANDREA DELIA ROBBIA. Madonna in Adoration . . 165
National Museum, Florence,
LORENZO DT CREDI . . Nativity 169
Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
FILIPPO LIPPI . . . . Madonna in Adoration . . 175
Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
LUIGI VIVARINI . . . Madonna and Child . 179
Church, of the Redentore> Venice.
GIOVANNI BELLINI . . Madonna between St. George
and St. Paul. (Detail.) 189
Venice A cademy.
LUINI Madonna with St. Barbara
and St. Anthony . . . 193
Brer a Gallery, Milan.
BOTTICELLI Madonna of the Pomegran-
Ujfizi Gallery, Florence.
MURILLO ...... Madonna and Child . . . 201
Pitti Gallery, Florence.
RAPHAEL Sistine Madonna . . * . 205
^T^HIS little book is intended as a
companion volume to " Child-Life in
Art," and is a study of Madonna art as a
revelation of motherhood. With the his-
torical and legendary incidents in the life
of the Virgin it has nothing to do. These
subjects have been discussed compre-
hensively and finally in Mrs. Jameson's
splendid work on the " Legends of the
Madonna." Out of the great mass of
Madonna subjects are selected, here, only
the idealized and devotional pictures of
the Mother and Babe. The methods of
classifying such works are explained in
Great pains have been taken to choose
as illustrations, not only the pictures which
are universal favorites, but others which
are less widely known and not easily
The cover was designed by Miss Isa-
belle A. Sinclair, in the various colors
appropriate to the Virgin Mary. The
lily is the Virgin's flower, la fleur de
Marie, the highest symbol of her purity.
The gold border surrounding the panel
is copied from the ornamentation of the
mantle worn by Botticelli's Dresden Ma-
ESTELLE M. HURLL.
New Bedford, Mass., May, 1897.
TT is now about fifteen centuries since
s the Madonna with her Babe was first
introduced into art, and it is safe to say
that, throughout all this time, the sub-
ject has been unrivalled in popularity.
Jt requires no very profound philosophy
to discover the reason for this. The
Madonna is the universal type of mother-
hood, a subject which, in its very nature,
appeals to all classes and conditions of
people. No one is too ignorant to under-
stand it, and none too wise to be su-
perior to its charm. The little child
appreciates it as readily as the old man,
and both, alike, are drawn to it by an ir-
resistible attraction. Thus, century after
xiv THE MADONNA IN ART.
century, the artist has poured out his soul
in this all-prevailing theme of mother love
until we have an accumulation of Ma-
donna pictures so great that no one would
dare to estimate their number. It would
seem that every conceivable type was long
since exhausted; but the end is not yet.
So long as we have mothers, art will con-
tinue to produce Madonnas.
With so much available material, the
student of Madonna art would be discour-
aged at the outset were it not possible
to approach the subject systematically.
Even the vast number of Madonna pic-
tures becomes manageable when studied
by some method of classification. Several
plans are possible. The historical student
is naturally guided in his grouping by the
periods in which the pictures were pro-
duced ; the critic, by the technical schools
which they represent Besides these more
scholarly methods, are others, founded on
simpler and more obvious dividing lines.
Such are the two proposed in the follow-
ing pages, forming, respectively, Part I.
and Part II. of our little volume.
The first is based on the style of com-
position in which the picture is painted;
the second, on the subject which it treats.
The first examines the mechanical ar-
rangement of the figures ; the second asks,
A hat is the real relation between them?
The first deals with external characteris-
tics; the second, with the inner signifi-
Proceeding by the first, we ask, what
are the general styles of treatment in
which Madonna pictures have been ren-
dered ? The answer names the following
five classes :
1. The Portrait Madonna, the figures
in half-length against an indefinite back-
2. The Madonna Enthroned, where
xvi THE MADONNA IN ART.
the setting is some sort of a throne or
3. The Madonna in the Sky or the
"Madonna in Gloria," where the figures
are set in the heavens, as represented by
a glory of light, by clouds, by a company
of cherubs, or by simple elevation above
the earth's surface,
4. The Pastoral Madonna, with a land-
5. The Madonna in a Home Environ-
ment, where the setting is an interior.
The foregoing subjects are arranged in
the order of historical development, so far
as is possible. The first and last of the
classes enumerated are so small, compared
with the others, that they are somewhat
insignificant in the whole number of Ma-
donna pictures. Yet, in all probability, it
is along these lines that future art is most
likely to develop the subject, choosing the
portrait Madonna because of its universal
adaptability, and representing the Madon-
na in her home, in an effort to realize,
historically, the New Testament scenes.
Of the remaining three, the enthroned
Madonna is, doubtless, the largest class,
historically considered, because of the long
period through which it has been repre-
sented. The pastoral and enskied Ma-
donnas were in high favor in the first
period of their perfection.
Our next question is concerned with
the aspects of motherhood displayed in
Madonna pictures: in what relation to
her child has the Madonna been repre-
sented ? The answer includes the follow-
ing three subjects:
1. The Madonna of Love (The Mater
Amabilis), in which the relation is purely
maternal. The emphasis is upon a moth-
er's natural affection as displayed towards
2. The Madonna in Adoration (The
xviii THE MADONNA IN ART.
Madre Pia), in which the mother's atti-
tude is one of humility, contemplating her
child with awe.
3. The Madonna as Witness, in which
the Mother is preeminently the Christ-
bearer, wearing the honors of her proud
position as witness to her son's great
These subjects are mentioned in the or-
der of philosophical climax, and as we jjo
from the first to the second, and from tht k
second to the third, we advance farther
and farther into the experience of mother-
hood. At the same time there is an in-
crease in the dignity of the Madonna and
in her importance as an individual In the
Mater Amabilis she is subordinate to her
child, absorbed in him, so to speak; his
infantine charms often overmatch her own
beauty. When she rises to the responsibili-
ties of her high calling, she is, for the time
being, of equal interest and importance.
-^Esthetically, she is now even more at-
tractive than her child, whose seriousness,
in such pictures, takes something from
his childlikeness. Chronologically, our list
reads backwards, as the religious aspect
of Mary's motherhood was the first treated
in art, while the naturalistic conception
came last. Regarded as expressive of na-
tional characteristics, the Mater Amabilis
is the Madonna best beloved in northern
countries, while the other two subjects be-
long specially to the art of the south.
It will be seen that any number of
Madonna pictures, having been arranged
in the five groups designated in Part I.,
may be gathered up and redistributed in
the three classes of Part II. To make this
clear, the pictures mentioned in the first
method of classification are frequently re-
ferred to a second time, viewed from an
entirely different standpoint Since the
lines of cleavage are so widely dissimilar
XX THE MADONNA IN ART.
in the two cases, both methods of study
are necessary to a complete understanding
of a picture. By the first, we learn a
convenient term of description by which
we may casually designate a Madonna ; by
the second, we find its highest meaning as
a work of art, and are admitted to some
new secret of a mother's love.
MADONNAS CLASSED BY THE STYLE OF
THE MADONNA IN ART.
THE PORTRAIT MADONNA.
first Madonna pictures known
to us are of the portrait style, and
are of Byzantine or Greek ori-
gin. They were brought to Rome and
the western empire from Constantinople
(the ancient Byzantium), the capital of the
eastern empire, where a new school of
Christian art had developed out of that
of ancient Greece. Justinian's conquest
of Italy sowed the new art-seed in a fertile
field, where it soon took root and multi-
plied rapidly. There was, however, little
or no improvement in the type for a long
24 THE MADONNA IN ART.
period ; it remained practically unchanged
till the thirteenth century. Thus, while
a Byzantine Madonna is to be found in
nearly every old church in Italy, to see
one is to see all. They are half-length
figures against a background of gold leaf,
at first laid on solidly, or, at a somewhat
later date, studded with cherubs. The
Virgin has a meagre, ascetic counten-
ance, large, ill-shaped eyes, and an almost
peevish expression; her head is draped
in a heavy, dark blue veil, falling in stiff
Unattractive as such pictures are to us
from an artistic standpoint, they inspire
us with respect if not with reverence.
Once objects of mingled devotion and
admiration, they are still regarded with
awe by many who can no longer admire.
Their real origin being lost in obscur-
ity, innumerable legends have arisen, at-
tributing them to miraculous agencies,
THE PORTRAIT MADONNA. 25
and also endowing them with power to
work miracles. There is an early and
widespread tradition, imported with the
Madonna from the East,
Lufe^ ajDajnter. It is said that he painted
many portraits of the Virgin, and, natur-
ally, all the churches possessing old Byzan-
tine pictures claim that they are genuine
works from the hand of the evangelist.
There is one in the Ara Coeli at Rome,
and another in S, Maria in Cosmedino,
of which marvellous tales are told, besides
other* of great sanctity in St. Mark's,
Venice, and in Padua.
It would not be interesting to dwell,
in any detail, upon these curious old pic-
tures. We would do better to take our
first example from the art which, though
founded on Byzantine types, had begun to
learn of nature. Such a picture we find in
the Venice Academy, by Jacopo Bellini,
painted at the beginning of the fifteenth
26 THE MADONNA IN ART.
century, somewhat later than any corre-
sponding picture could have been found
elsewhere in Italy, as Venice was chrono-
logically behind the other art schools.
The background is a glory of cherub
heads touched with gold hatching. Both
mother and child wear heavy nimbi, orna-
mented with gold. These points recall
Byzantine work; but the gentler face of
the Virgin, and the graceful fall of her
drapery, show that we are in a different
world of art The child is dressed in a
little tunic, in the primitive method.
With the dawn of the Italian Renais-
sance, the old style of portrait Madonna
passed out of vogue. More elaborate
backgrounds were introduced from the
growing resources of technique. In the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, pictures
of the portrait style were comparatively
rare. Raphael, however, was not above
adopting this method, as every lover of
JACOPO BELLINI. MADONNA AND CHILD.
THE PORTRAIT MADONNA. 29
the Granduca Madonna will remember.
His friend Bartolommeo also selected
this style of composition for some of the
loveliest of his works.
The story of the friendship between
these two men is full of interest. At the
time of Raphael's first appearance in
Florence (1504), Bartolommeo had been
four years a monk, and had laid aside,
apparently forever, the brush he had pre-
viously wielded with such promise. The
young stranger sought the Frate in his
cell at San Marco, and soon found the
way to his heart. Stimulated by this
new friendship, Bartolommeo roused him-
self from lethargy and resumed the prac-
tice of art with increasing success. It
is pleasant to trace the influence which
the two artists exerted upon each other.
The older man had experience and learn-
ing; the younger had enthusiasm and
genius. Now it happened that, by na-
30 THE MADONNA IN ART.
ture, Bartolommeo was specially gifted
in the arrangement of large composi-
tions, with many figures and stately ar-
chitectural backgrounds. It is by these
that he is chiefly known to-day. So it is
the more interesting that, when Raphaels
sweet simplicity first touched him, he
turned aside, for the time, from these
elaborate plans and gave himself to the
portrayal of the Madonna in that simplest
possible way, the half-length portrait pic-
ture. Several of these he painted upon
the walls of his own convent, glorifying
that dim place of prayer and fasting with
visions of radiant and happy motherhood.
One of these may still be seen in the cell
sometimes called the Capella Giovanato.
It instantly recalls the Tempi Madonna of
Raphael, both in the pose of the figure
and in the genuineness of feeling ex-
hibited. Damp and decay have warred in
vain against it, and the modern visitor
THE PORTRAIT MADONNA. 3!
lingers before the Mother and Babe with
Two other similar frescoes have been
removed to the Academy. They show the
same motherly tenderness, the same inno-
cent and beautiful babyhood. The mother
holds her child close in her arms, pressing
her forehead to his, or bending her cheek
to receive his kiss. He throws his little
arm about her neck, clinging to her veil
or caressing her face.
Besides this group of pictures by Bar-
tolommeo, there are other scattered in-
stances of portrait Madonnas during the
Italian Renaissance, by men too great to
be tied to the fashions of their day. Man-
tegna was such a painter, and Luini an-
other. All told, however, their pictures
of this sort make up a class too rare to
deserve longer description,
A century later, the Spanish school
occasionally reverted to the same style of
32 THE MADONNA IN ART.
treatment. A pair of notable pictures 'are
the Madonna of Bethlehem, by Alonzo
Cano, and the Madonna of the Napkin,
by Murillo. Both are in Seville, the latter
in the museum, the former still hanging
in its original place in the cathedral.
Of Cano's work, a great authority 1 on
Spanish art has written, that, "in serene,
celestial beauty, it is excelled by no image
of the blessed Mary ever devised in
Spain." Murillo's picture is better known,
and has a curious interest from its history.
The cook in the Capuchin monastery,
where the artist had been painting, begged
a picture as a parting gift. No canvas
being at hand, a napkin was offered in-
stead, on which the master painted a
Madonna, unexcelled among his works in
brilliancy of color.
As the portrait picture was the first
style of Madonna known to art, so, also, it
1 Stirling-Maxwell, in " Annals of the Artists of Spain.'*
GABRIEL MAX. MADONNA AND CHILD,
THE PORTRAIT MADONNA. 35
is the last. By a leap of nearly a thou-
sand years, we have returned, in our own
day, to the method of the tenth century.
It is strange that what was once a matter
of necessity should at last become an
object of choice. In the beginning of
Madonna art, the limited resources of tech-
nique precluded any attempts to make a
more elaborate setting. Such difficulties
no longer stand in the way, and where we
now see a portrait Madonna, the artist has
deliberately discarded all accessories in
order better to idealize his theme.
Take, for instance, the portrait Ma-
donnas by Gabriel Max. Here are no
details to divert the attention from mother-
hood, pure and simple. We do not ask
of the subject whether she is of high or
of low estate, a queen or a peasant We
have only to look into the earnest, lov-
ing face to read that here is a mother.
There are two pictures of this sort,
36 THE MADONNA IN ART.
dently studied from the same Bohemian
models. In one, the mother looks down
at her babe; in the other, directly at
the spectator, with a singularly vision-
ary expression. When weary with the
senseless repetition of the set compo-
sitions of past ages, we turn with relief
to a simple portrait mother like this > at
once the most primitive and the most
advanced form of Madonna art. It is
only another case where the simplest is
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED.
|N every true home the mother is
queen, enthroned in the hearts
of her loving children. There is,
therefore, a beautiful double significance,
which we should always have in mind,
in looking at the Madonna enthroned.
According to the theological conception
of the period in which it was first pro-
duced, the picture stands for the Virgin
Mother as Queen of Heaven. Understood
typically, it represents the exaltation of
In the history of art development, the
enthroned Madonna begins where the por-
trait Madonna ends. We may date it
from the thirteenth century, when Cima
38 THE MADONNA IN ART.
hue, of Florence, and Guido, of Siena,
produced their famous pictures. Similar
types had previously appeared in the
mosaic decorations of churches, but now,
for the first time, they were worthily set
forth in panel pictures.
The story of Cimabue's Madonna is
one of the oft-told tales we like to hear
repeated. How on a certain day, about
1270, Charles of Anjou was passing
through Florence; how he honored the
studio of Cimabue by a visit; how the
Madonna was then first uncovered ; how
the people shouted so joyously that the
street was thereafter named the Borgo
dei Allegri; and how the great picture
was finally borne in triumphal procession
to the church of Santa Maria Novella,
all these are the scenes in the pretty
drama. The late Sir Frederick Leighton
has preserved for future centuries this
story, already six hundred years old, in a
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 39
charming pageant picture : " Cimabue's
Madonna carried through the streets of
Florence." This was the first work ever
exhibited by the English artist, and was
an important step in the career which
ended in the presidency of the Royal
Cimabue's Madonna still hangs in San-
ta Maria Novella, over the altar of the
Ruccellai chapel, and thither many a pil-
grim takes his way to honor the memory
of the father of modern painting. The
throne is a sort of carved armchair, very
simple in form, but richly overlaid with
gold ; the surrounding background is filled
with adoring angels. Here sits the Ma-
donna, in stiff solemnity, holding her child
6n her lap. If we find it hard to admire
her beauty, we must note the superiority
of the picture to its predecessors.
For the enthroned Madonna in a really
attractive and beautiful form, we must
40 THE MADONNA IN ART.
pass at once to the period of full art
development. In the interval, many
variations upon the theme have been in-
vented. The throne may be of any size,
shape, or material ; the composition may
consist of any number of figures. The
Madonna, seated or standing, is now the
centre of an assembly of personages sym-
metrically grouped about her. There is
little or no unity of action among them;
each one is an independent figure. The
guard of honor may be composed of
saints, as in Montagna's Madonna, of the
Brera, Milan ; or again it is a company of
angels, as in the Berlin Madonna, at-
tributed to Botticelli, similar to which is
the picture by Ghirlandajo in the Uffizi
Gallery. Where saints are represented,
each one is marked by some special em-
blem, the identification of which makes,
in itself, an interesting study. St. Peter's
key, St. Paul's sword, St. Catherine's
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 41
wheel, and St. Barbara's tower soon be-
come familiar symbols to those fond of
this kind of lore.
Among the idealized presences about
the Virgin's throne may sometimes be
seen the prosaic figure of the donor,
whose munificence has made the picture
possible. This is well illustrated in the
famous Madonna of Victory in the Louvre,
painted in commemoration of the Battle
of Fornovo, where Mantegna represents
Francesco Gonzaga, commander of the
Venetian forces, kneeling at the Virgin's
A charming feature in many enthroned
Madonnas is the group of cherubs below,
one, two, or the mystic three. They
are not the exclusive possession of any
single school of art; Bartolommeo and
Andrea del Sarto of the Florentines,
Francia of the Bolognese, and Bellini
Cima of the Venetians were partic-
42 THE MADONNA IN ART.
ularly partial to them. The treatment in
Northern Italy gives them a more definite
purpose in the composition than does that
of Florence, for here they are always
musicians, playing on all sorts of instru-
ments, the violin, the mandolin, or the
Bartolommeo was specially successful
in the subject of the enthroned Madonna,
having fine gifts of composition united
with profound religious earnestness. The
great picture in the Pitti gallery at Flor-
ence may serve as a typical example.
Andrea del Sarto's chef- d'ceuvre the
Madonna di San Francesco (Uffizi) may
also be assigned to this class, although
the arrangement is entirely novel. The
Virgin, holding the babe in her arms,
stands on a sort of pedestal, carved at
the corners with a design of harpies, from
which the picture is often known as the
Madonna of the Harpies. The pedestal
PERUGINO. MADONNA AND SAINTS. (DETAIL.)
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 45
throne is also seen in two of Correggio's
Dresden pictures, but here the Virgin is
seated, with the child on her lap. An
exceedingly simple throne Madonna is
that of Luini, in the Brera at Milan,
where the Virgin sits on a plain coping
not at all high.
A beautiful Madonna enthroned is by
Perugino, in the Vatican Gallery at Rome ;
one of the artist's best works in power and
vivacity of color. The throne is an archi-
tectural structure of elegant simplicity of
design, apparently of carved and inlaid
marble. The Virgin sits in quiet dignity,
her face bent towards the bishops at her
right, St. Costantius and St. Herculanus.
On the other side stand the youthful St.
Laurence and St. Louis of Toulouse.
Although Perugino was an exceedingly
prolific artist, he did not often choose this
particular subject. On this account the
picture is especially interesting, and also
46 THE MADONNA IN ART.
because it is the original model of well
known works by two of the Umbrian
painter's most illustrious pupils.
Many, indeed, were the apprentices
trained in the famous bottega at Perugia,
but, among them all, Raphael and Pintu-
ricchio took the lead. These were the
two who honored their master by repeat-
ing, with modifications of their own, the
beautiful composition of the Vatican.
Pinturicchio's picture is in the Church
of St. Andrea, at Perugia. A charming
feature, which he introduced, is a little St.
John, standing at the foot of the throne.
Raphael's picture is the so-called Ansidei
Madonna, of the National Gallery, Lon-
don, purchased by the English govern-
ment, in 1885, for the fabulous price of
^72,000. The composition is here re-
duced to its simplest possible form, with
only one saint on each side, St. Nicholas
on the right, St. John the Baptist on the
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 4/
left The Virgin and child give no atten-
tion to these personages, but are absorbed
in a book which is open on the Mother's
Raphael had no great liking for this
style of picture, which was rather too
formal for his taste. It is noticeable
that, in the few instances where he
painted it, he took the suggestion, as
here, from some previous work. Thus
his Madonna of St. Anthony, also in the
National Gallery (loaned by the King of
Naples), was based upon an old picture
by Bernardino di Mariotto, according to
the strict orders of the nuns for whose
convent it was a commission. The
Baldacchino Madonna of the Piyi, at
Florence, is closely akin to Bartolom-
* a f" L
meo's composition in the same gallery.
Glancing, briefly, at these scattered ex-
amples, we learn that the enthroned Ma-
donna belongs to every school of Italian
48 THE MADONNA IN ART.
art, and exhibits an astonishing variety
of forms. Probably it was in the North
of Italy that it flourished most. The
Paduan School has its fine representa-
tion in Mantegna's picture, already re-
ferred to; the Brescian, in Moretto's
Madonna of S. Clemente; the Veronese,
in Girolamo dai Libri's splendid altar
piece in San Giorgio Maggiore; the Ber-
gamesque, in Lotto's Madonna of S. Bar-
tolommeo. Above all, it was in Venice,
the Queen City of the Adriatic, that the
enthroned Madonna reached the greatest
popularity: the spirit of the composition
was peculiarly adapted to the Venetian
love of pomp and ceremony.
To understand Venetian art aright, we
must distinguish the character of the
earlier and later periods. With Vivarini,
Bellini and Cima, the Madonna in Trono
was the expression of a devout religious
feeling. With Titian, Tintoretto, and Ver-
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 49
onese, it was merely one among many
popular art subjects. Thus arose two
different general types. The earlier Ma-
donna was a somewhat cold type of
beauty; the faultless regularity of her
features and the imperturbable calm of
her expression make her rather unap-
proachable ; but she shows a strong,
sweet purity of character, worthy of pro-
One of Cima's most important works
is the Madonna of this type in the Ven-
ice Academy. High on a marble throne,
she sits under a pillared portico, behind
which stretches a pleasant landscape.
Three saints stand on each side, an
old man, a youth, and a maiden. On
the steps sit two choristers playing the
violin and mandolin.
Palma's great altar-piece, at Vicenza,
is another splendid enthroned Madonna.
Attended by St. George and St. Lucy.
50 THE MADONNA IN ART.
and entertained by a musical angel seated
at her feet, the Virgin supports her beau-
tiful boy, as he gives his blessing.
Bellini's enthroned Madonnas are
known throughout the world. The
picture by which he established his
fame was one of this class, originally
painted for a chapel in San Giobbe, but
now hanging in the Venice Academy.
Ruskin has pronounced it "one of the
greatest pictures ever painted in Chris-
tendom in her central art power." It is
a large composition, with three saints
at each side, and three choristers below.
The Frari Madonna is in a simpler
vein, and consists of three compartments,
the central one containing the Virgin's
throne. The angioletti, on the steps, are
probably the most popular of their charm-
ing class in Venice.
The San Zaccaria Madonna was
painted when Bellini was over eighty
GIOVANNI BELLINI. MADONNA OF SAN ZACCARIA. (DEfAiL.)
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 53
years old, and has certain technical qual-
ities surpassing any the artist had pre-
viously attained. The depth of light
and shade is particularly remarkable ; the
colors rich and harmonious. The at-
tendant saints are St. Lucy on the right,
a pretty blonde girl, with St. Jerome be-
yond her, absorbed in his Bible; oppo-
site, stand St. Catherine, pensively looking
down, and St. Peter, in profound medita-
tion. The entire picture, both in con-
ception and execution, may be considered
a representative example of the times.
Following the Bellini school, and form-
ing, as it were, a connecting link between
the earlier and the later art, was Giorgione,
Less than a score of existing works give
witness to the rare spirit of this master,
who was spared to earth only thirty-four
years. These are of a quality to place
him among the immortals. The en-
throned Madonna is the subject of two,
54 THE MADONNA IN ART.
one in the Madrid Gallery, and another
at Castel-Franco. They create an en-
tirely distinct Madonna ideal, a poetic
being, who sits, with drooping head and
dreamy eyes, as if seeing unspeakable
The Castel-Franco picture expresses
the finest elements in Venetian charac-
ter. Every other composition seems
elaborate and artificial when compared
with the simplicity of this. Other Ma-
donnas seem almost coarse beside such
delicacy. The Virgin's throne is of an
unusual height, a double plinth, the
upper step of which is somewhat above
the heads of the attendant saints, Lib-
erale and Francis. This simple, compo-
sitional device emphasizes the effect of
her pensive expression. It is as if her
high meditations set her apart from
human companionship. There is, in-
deed, something almost pathetic in her
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 55
isolation, but for the strength of character
in her face. The color scheme is as
simple and beautiful as the underlying
conception. The Virgin's tunic is of
green, and the mantle, falling from the
right shoulder and lying across her lap,
is red, with deep shadows in its large
folds. The back of the seat is covered
with a strip of red and gold embroidery.
The later period of Venetian art is
marked by a new ideal of the Virgin.
She is now a magnificent creature of
flesh and blood. Her face is proud and
handsome; her figure large, well-propor-
tioned, and somewhat voluptuous. No
Bethlehem stable ever sheltered this
haughty beauty; her home is in kings'
palaces; she belongs distinctly to the
realm of wealth and worldliness. She
has never known sorrow, anxiety, or
poverty; life has brought her nothing
but pleasure and luxury. Her throne
50 THE MADONNA IN ART.
stands no longer in the sacred place of
some inner sanctuary, where angel chor-
isters make music. It is an elevated
platform, at one side of the composition,
as in Titian's Pesaro altar-piece, and
Veronese's Madonna in the Venice Aca-
demy. This gives an opportunity for a
display of elaborate draperies, such as
we may see in Veronese's picture.
The peculiar qualities of art in Verona
and Venice are blended in Paolo Veron-
ese. No artist ever enjoyed more the
splendors of color, or combined them in
more enchanting harmonies. Such gifts
transform the commonest materials, and,
though his Virgin is a very ordinary
woman, she has undeniable charms. An
oft -copied figure, in this picture, is that
of the little St. John, a universal favorite
among child lovers.
The reader must have remarked that,
though the fundamental idea of the en-
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED, 59
throned Madonna is that of queenship,
the Virgin wears no crown in any of
the pictures thus far cited; the crowned
Madonna is not characteristic of Italian
art. It is found occasionally in mosaics
from the eighth to the eleventh centur-
ies, and in some of the early votive pic-
tures, but does not appear in the later
period except in a few Venetian pictures
by Giovanni da Murano and Carlo Cri-
velli. The same idea was often carried
out by placing two hovering angels over
the Virgin's head, holding the crown be-
tween them. Botticelli's Madonna of the
Inkhorn is treated in this way.
The crown is essentially Teutonic in
origin and character. Turning to the
representative art of Germany and Bel-
gium, we find the Virgin almost invari-
ably wearing a crown, whether she sits on
a throne, or in a pastoral environment
No better example could be named than
6O THE MADONNA IN ART.
the celebrated Holbein Madonna, of
Darmstadt, known chiefly through the
copy in the Dresden Gallery. Here the
imposing height of the Virgin is rendered
still more impressive by a high, golden
crown, richly embossed and edged with
pearls. Beneath this her blond hair falls
loosely over her beautiful neck, and gleams
on the blue garment hanging over her
shoulders. Strong and tender, this noble
figure sums up the finest elements in the
Madonna art of the North.
A simple and lovely form for the
Madonna's crown is the narrow golden
fillet set with pearls, singly or in clusters.
This is placed over the Virgin's brow just
at the edge of the hair, which is otherwise
unconfined. This is seen on Madonnas
by Van Eyck (Frankfort), Diirer (wood-
cut of 1513), Memling (Bruges), Schon-
In the enthroned Madonna by Quen-
QUENTIN MASSYS. MADONNA AND CHILD.
THE MADONNA ENTHRONED. 63
tin Massys, in the Berlin Gallery, we have
many typical characteristics of Northern
art. The throne itself is exceedingly rich,
ornamented with agate pillars with em-
bossed capitals of gold. The Virgin has
the fine features and earnest, tender
expression which recalls earlier Flemish
painters. Her dress falls in rich, heavy
folds upon the marble pavement. But, as
with Van Eyck and Memling, Holbein
and Schongauer, fine clothes do not con-
ceal her girlish simplicity or her loving
heart. A low table, spread with food,
stands at the left, a curious domestic
element to introduce, and thoroughly
Northern in realism.
Considered as a symbol of the exalta-
tion of motherhood, there is no reason
why the throne should go out of fashion ;
but if it is to appear, it must be used
intelligently, and with some adaptation to
present modes of thought, not servilely
64 THE MADONNA IN ART.
imitated from the forms of a by-gone age.
This is a fact too little appreciated by the
artists of to-day. Many modern pictures
could be cited by Bouguereau, Itten-
bach, and others of enthroned Madon-
nas in which is adopted the form, but
not the spirit, of the Italian Rennaissance.
In such works, the setting is a mere
affectation entirely out of taste. If we
are to have a throne, let us have a
Madonna who is a veritable queen.
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY.
(THE MADONNA IN GLORIA.)
E have seen that the first Madon-
nas were painted against a back-
ground either of solid gold, or
of cherub figures, and that the latter style
of setting was continued in the early
pictures of the enthroned Madonna. The
effect was to idealize the subject, and
carry it into the region of the heavenly.
This was the germinal idea which grew
into the " Madonna in Gloria."
The glory was originally a sort of nim-
bus of a larger order, surrounding the
entire figure, instead of merely the head.
It was oval in shape, like the almond or
66 THE MADONNA IN ART.
A picture of this class is the famous
Madonna della Stella, of Fra Angelico.
It is in a beautiful Gothic tabernacle,
which is the sole ornament of a cell in
San Marco, Florence. At every step in
these sacred precincts, we meet some
reminder of the Angelic Brother. How
the gray walls blossomed, under his brush,
into forms and colors of eternal beauty!
After seeing the larger wall-paintings in
corridors and refectory, this little gem
seems to epitomize his choicest gifts. A
rich frame, fit setting for the jewel, en-
closes an outer circle of adoring angels,
and within, the central panel contains
only the full length figure of the Virgin
with her child, against a mandorla formed
of golden rays running from centre to cir-
cumference. The Madonna is enveloped
in a long, dark blue cloak, drawn around
her head like a Byzantine veil. A single
star gleams above her brow, from which
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY. 69
is derived the title of the picture. She
holds her child fondly, and he, with re-
sponsive affection, nestles against his
mother, pressing his little face into her
neck. Faithful to the standards of his
predecessors, and untouched by the new
spirit of naturalism all about him, the
monk painter preserves, in his conception,
the most sacred traditions of past ages,
and yet unites with them an element
of love and tenderness which appeals
strongly to every human heart.
It is but a step from this earlier form
of the Madonna in Gloria to the more
'nodern style of the Madonna in the Sky,
where the field of vision is enlarged, and
we see the Virgin and child raised above
the surface of the earth. In some pic-
tures, her elevation is very slight. There
is a curious composition, by Andrea del
Sarto (Berlin Gallery), where we are
puzzled to know if the Madonna is en-
70 THE MADONNA IN ART.
throned or enskied. A flight of steps
in the centre leads up as if to a throne,
but above these the Virgin sits in a
niche, on a bank of clouds.
In Correggio's Madonna of St. Sebas-
tian, in the Dresden Gallery, the Virgin
seems to be descending from heaven to
earth with her babe, and the surrounding
clouds and cherubs rest literally upon the
heads of the saints who are honored by
In other pictures the dividing line
between earth and heaven is much more
strongly marked. We have a landscape
below, then a stratum of intervening air,
and, in the upper sky, the Madonna with
her child. The lower part of the picture
is occupied by a company of saints, to
whom the heavenly vision is vouchsafed ;
or, in rare cases, by cherubs. The Virgin
appears in a cloud of cherub heads,
or accompanied by a few child - angels.
UMBIUAN SCHOOL. GLORIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN.
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY. 73
There are a few pictures in which her
mother, St. Anne, sits with her. Adoring
seraphs sometimes attend, one on each
side, or even sainted personages. All
these variations are exemplified in the
pictures which we are to consider.
The first has come down to us from the
hand of some unknown Umbrian painter.
In the National Gallery, London, where
it now hangs, it was once attributed to
Lo Spagna, but is now entered in the
catalogue as nameless. It matters little
whether or not we know the name of the
master ; he could ask no higher tribute to
his talent than the universal admiration
which his picture commands.
In the foreground of a quiet Umbrian
lanscape is a marble balcony, on the rail-
ing of which sit two captivating little boy
choristers. One roguish fellow pipes on a
trumpet, while the other, his face tip-tilted
to the heavenly vision, makes music on a
74 THE MADONNA IN ART.
small guitar. Above, on a cloud, sits the
Virgin, with the sweet, mystic smile on
her face, so characteristic of Umbrian art.
She supports her babe with her right arm,
and in her left hand carries a lily stalk.
The child, standing on his mother's knee
and clinging to her neck, turns his face out
with sweet earnestness. In clouds at the
side, tiny cherubs bear tapers, while others,
floating above, hold a large crown just
over her head.
Although we cannot limit this style of
picture to any special locality, it appears
to have found much favor in the art of
Northern Italy. In the Brescian school,
Moretto was unusually fond of the subject.
His treatment of the theme is somewhat
heavy; there is little of the ethereal in
his celestial vision, either in the type of
womanhood or in the style of arrange-
ment. In defiance of the law of gravita-
tion, he poses his upper figures so as to
MORETTO. MADONNA IN GLORY.
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY. 77
form a solid pyramid, wide at the base,
and tapering abruptly to the apex.
In the glorified Madonna of St. John
the Evangelist, Brescia, the pyramidal
effect is accentuated by curtains draped
back on either side of the upper part of
the composition. In the Madonna of San
Giorgio Maggiore, at Verona, we have
a much more attractive picture. The
" gloria " encompassing the vision is
clearly defined, giving so strong an effect
of the supernatural that we cease to judge
the composition by ordinary standards of
natural law. The Virgin's white veil
flutters from her head as if caught by
some heavenly breeze. Her cloak floats
about her by the same mysterious force,
held in graceful festoons by winged cherub
Below is a group of five virgin martyrs,
with St. Cecilia in the centre, wearing a
crown of roses; St. Lucia holds the awl,
78 THE MADONNA IN ART.
the instrument of her torture, looking
down at St. Catherine, who leans against
her terrible wheel ; St. Agnes, on the other
side, reads quietly from a book while she
caresses her lamb, and St. Barbara stands
behind her, with eyes lifted to the sky.
They are all splendid young Amazons,
recalling Moretto's fine St. Justina of the
Vienna Gallery. There is no trace of
ascetism in their strong, well-developed
figures, and in their faces no suggestion
of an unhealthy pietism.
Moretto's ideals were an anticipation of
the most advanced ideas of the modern
science of physical culture. His Madonna
and saints derive their beauty neither from
over refinement on the one hand, nor
from sensuous charms on the other, but
from sane and harmonious self-develop-
The Berlin Gallery contains a third
glorified Madonna by the same painter,
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY. Jg
treated as a Holy Family. St. Elizabeth
sits beside the Virgin, who holds her own
boy on her right side, while bending to
embrace the little St. John with the left
arm. So large a group is not appropri-
ately treated in this way, yet the picture
is so fine a work of art as to disarm
Still another representative of the Bres-
cian school must be considered in the
person of Savolclo. Born of a noble
family, and following painting as an
amusement rather than as an actual
profession, his works are rare, and one
of the finest examples of his art is the
Glorification of the Virgin, in the Brera
Gallery, at Milan. The mandorla-shaped
glory surrounds the Virgin's figure, studded
with faintly discerned cherub heads. On
either side, a musical angel is in adora-
tion; four saints stand on the earth below.
The entire conception is rendered with
80 THE MADONNA IN ART.
the utmost delicacy : the grace and beauty
of the Madonna are of exactly the qual-
ity to make her appearance a beatific
From Brescia we turn to Verona, where
we again find many pictures of the beau-
tiful subject. There are, in the churches
of Verona, at least three notable works, by
Gianfrancesco Caroto, in this style. One
is in Sant' Anastasia, another is in San
Giorgio, and the third the artist's best
existing work is in San Fermo Mag-
giore, and shows the Virgin's mother, St.
Anne, seated with her in the clouds.
Girolamo dai Libri was a few years
younger than Caroto, and at one period
was, to some extent, an imitator of the
latter. Beginning as a miniaturist, he
finally attained a high place among the
Veronese artists of the first order. His
characteristics can nowhere be seen to
better advantage than in the Madonna of
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY. 8 1
St. Andrew and St. Peter, in the Verona
Gallery. The Virgin is in an oval glory,
edged all around with small, fleecy clouds.
She has a beautiful, matronly face, with
abundant hair, smoothly brushed over her
forehead. The two apostles, below, are fine,
strong figures, full of virility.
Morando, or Cavazzola, was, doubtless,
the most gifted of the older school of
Verona, possessing some of the best qual-
ities of the later master, Paolo Veronese.
We should not leave the school, therefore,
without mentioning a remarkable contri-
bution he added to this class of pictures in
his latest altar-piece. Here the upper air
is filled with a sacred company, the Virgin
and child are attended by St. Francis and
St. Anthony, and surrounded by seven
allegorical figures to represent the cardi-
nal virtues. Below are six saints, specially
honored in the Franciscan Order. The
picture is called the finest production of
82 THE MADONNA IN ART.
the school in the first quarter of the six-
In the Venetian school, Titian and
Tintoretto both painted the subject of
the Madonna in glory, but the pictures
are not notable compared with many
others from their hands.
From the North of Italy we naturally
turn next to the South, to inquire what
Raphael was doing at the same period in
Rome. Occupied by many great works
under the papal patronage, he still found
time for his favorite subject of the Ma-
donna, painting some pictures in the styles
already mastered, and two for the first
time in the style of the Madonna in the
The first was the Foligno Madonna,
now in the Vatican Gallery. It was
painted in 1511 for the pope's secre-
tary, Sigismund Conti, as a thank-offering
for having escaped the danger of a fall-
SPANISH SCHOOL. MADONNA ON THE CRESCENT MOON.
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY. 85
ing meteor at Foligno. No thoughtful
observer can be slow to recognize the
superiority of this composition over all
others of its kind in point of unity. Here
is no formal row of saints, each absorbed
in his or her own reflections, apart from
any common purpose. On the contrary,
all unite in paying honor to the Queen
of Heaven. Not less superior to his con-
temporaries was the painter's skill in
arranging the figures of Mother and child
with such grace of equilibrium that they
seem to float in the upper air.
In the Sistine Madonna, Raphael car-
ried this form of composition to the
hjghes^jjerfection. So simple and ap-
parently unstudied is its beauty, that
we do not realize the masterliness of its
art We seem to be standing before an
altar, or, better still, before an open win-
dow, from which the curtains have been
drawn aside, allowing us to look directly
86 THE MADONNA IN ART.
into the heaven of heavens. A cloud of
cherub faces fills the air, from the midst
of which, and advancing towards us, is
the Virgin with her child. The down-
ward force of gravity is perfectly coun-
terbalanced by the vital energy of her
progress forward. There is here no
uncomfortable sense, on the part of
the spectator, that natural law is disre-
garded. While the seated Madonna in
glory seems often in danger of falling
to earth, this full-length figure in motion
avoids any such solidity of effect.
The figures on either side are also
so posed as to arouse no surprise at
their presence. We should have said
beforehand that heavy pontifical robes
would be absurdly incongruous in such
a composition, but Raphael solves the
problem so simply that few would sus-
pect the difficulties. The final touch of
beauty is added in the cherub heads be-
BOUGUEREAU. MADONNA OF THE ANGELS.
THE MADONNA IN THE SKY, , ?O
low, recalling the naive charm of the
similar figures in the Umbrian picture
we have considered.
After the time of Raphael, a pretty
form of Madonna in glory was occa-
sionally painted, showing the Virgin with
her babe sitting above the crescent moon.
The conception appears more than once
in the paintings of Albert Diirer, and
later, artists of all schools adopted it.
Sassoferrato's picture in the Vatican
Gallery is a popular example. Tinto-
retto's, in Berlin, is not so well known.
In the Dresden Gallery is a work, by
an unknown Spanish painter of the
seventeenth century, differing from the
others in that the Virgin is standing, as
in the oft-repeated Spanish pictures of
the Immaculate Conception.
It is of pictures like this that our poet
Longfellow is speaking, when he thus
apostrophizes the Virgin;
90 THE MADONNA IN ART.
" Thou peerless queen of air,
As sandals to thy feet the silver moon dost wear."
The enskied Madonna involves many
technical difficulties of composition, and
demands a high order of artistic imagina-
tion. It could hardly be called a frequent
subject in the period of greatest artistic
daring, and no modern painter has shown
any adequate understanding of the sub-
ject, though there are not lacking those
who have made the attempt Bodenhau-
sen, Defregger, Bouguereau, have all fol-
lowed Raphael in representing the Queen
of Heaven as a full-length figure in the
sky; but their conception has not the
dignity corresponding to the style of treat-
Impatient and dissatisfied with such
modern art, we turn back to the old mas-
ters with new appreciation of their great
THE PASTORAL MADONNA.
[T was many centuries before art,
at first devoted exclusively to
figure painting, turned to the
study of natural scenery. Thus it was
that Madonna pictures, of various kinds,
had long been established in popular favor
before the idea of a landscape setting was
introduced. We need not look for inter-
esting pictures of this class before the
latter part of the fifteenth century, and it
was not until the sixteenth that the pas-
toral Madonna, in its highest form, was
first produced. Even then there was no
great number which show a really sympa-
thetic love of nature.
In the ideal pastoral, the landscape en-
92 THE MADONNA IN ART.
tirely fills the picture, and the figures are,
as it were, an integral part of it. Such
pictures are so rare that we write in golden
letters the names of the few who have
given us these treasures.
Raphael's justly comes first in the list.
His earliest Madonnas show his love of
natural scenery, in the charming glimpses
of- Umbrian landscape, which form the
background. These are treated, as Miintz
points out, with marked "simplicity of
outline and breadth of design/' They are,
however, but the beginning of the great
things that were to follow. The young
painter's sojourn in Florence witnessed a
marvellous development of his powers.
Here he was surrounded by the greatest
artists of his time, and he was quick to
absorb into himself something of excel-
lence from them all. His fertility of pro-
duction was amazing. In a period of four
years (1504-1508), interrupted by visits to
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. 93
Perugia and Urbino, he produced about
twenty Madonnas, in which we may trace
the new influences affecting him.
Leonardo da Vinci was, doubtless, his
greatest inspiration, and it was from this
master-student of nature that the young
man learned, with new enthusiasm, the
value of going directly to Nature herself.
The fruit of this new study is a group of
lovely pastoral Madonnas, which are en-
tirely unique as Nature idyls. Three of
these are among the world's great favorites.
They are, the Belle Jardiniere (The Beau-
tiful Gardener), of the Louvre Gallery,
Paris ; the Madonna in Griinen (The Ma-
donna in the Meadow), in the Belvedere
Gallery, Vienna ; and the Cardellino Ma-
donna (The Madonna of the Goldfinch),
of the Uffizi, Florence.
We turn from one to another of these
three beautiful pictures, always in doubt
as to which is the greatest. Fortunately,
94 THE MADONNA IN ART.
it is a question which there is no occasion
to decide, as every lover of art may be the
happy possessor of all three, in that high-
est mode of possession attained by devoted
In each one we have the typical Tuscan
landscape, filling the whole picture with its
tranquil beauty. The " glad green earth "
blossoms with dainty flowers ; the fair blue
sky above is reflected in the placid surface
of a lake. From its shores rise gently
undulating hills, where towers show the
signs of happy activity. In the foreground
of this peaceful scene sits a beautiful
woman with two charming children at her
knee. They belong- to the landscape as
naturally as the dees and flowers; they
partake of its tranquil, placid happiness.
Almost identical in general style of
composition, the three pictures show
many points of dissimilarity when we
come to a closer study of the figures.
RAPHAEL. MADONNA IN THE MEADOW.
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. 97
Considered as a type of womanly beauty,
the Belle Jardiniere is perhaps the most
commonplace of the three Virgins, or, to
put it negatively, the least attractive. She
is distinctly of the peasant^ class, gentle,
amiable, and ^n^irdy^jia^suming. The
Madonna in the Meadow is a maturer
woman, more dignified, more beautiful.
The smooth braids of her hair are coiled
about the head, accentuating its lovely
outline. The falling mantle reveals the
finely modelled shoulders. The Madonna
of the Goldfinch is a still higher type
of loveliness, uniting with gentle dignity
a certain delicate, high-bred grace, which
Raphael alone could impart. Her face
is charmingly framed in the soft hair
which falls modestly about it. One won-
ders if any modern coiffeur could in-
vent so many styles of hair dressing as
does this gifted young painter of the six*
98 THE MADONNA IN ART,
Turning from the mother to the chil*
dren, we find the same general types re-
peated in the three pictures, but with
some difference of motif. The Christ-
child of the Belle Jardiniere is looking up
fondly to his mother. In the Vienna pic-
ture he is eagerly interested in the cross
which the little St. John gives him. In
the Uffizi picture he is more serious, and
strokes the goldfinch with an air of ab-
straction, meditating on the holy things
his mother has been reading to him.
The arrangement of the three figures is
the same in all the pictures, and is so
entirely simple that we forget the great-
ness of the art. The Virgin, dominating
the composition, brings into unity the two
smaller figures. This unity is somewhat
less perfect in the Belle Jardiniere, be-
cause the little St. John is almost neg-
lected in the intense absorption of mother
and child in each other,
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. 99
Once again, in the later days at Rome,
Raphael recurred to the pastoral Madonna
type of this Florentine period, and painted
the picture known as the Casa Alba Ma-
donna. We have again the same smiling
landscape and the same charming chil-
dren, but a Virgin of an altogether new
order. A turbaned Roman beauty of
superb, Juno-like physique, she does not
belong to the idyllic character of her sur-
roundings. It is as if some brilliant exotic
had been transplanted from her native
haunts to quiet fields, where hitherto the
modest lily had bloomed alone.
As Raphael's first inspiration for the
pastoral Madonna came from the influ-
ence of Leonardo da Vinci, it is of inter-
est to compare his work with that of the
great Lombard himself. Critics tell us
that the Madonna pictures in which he
came nearest to his model are the Ma-
donna in the Meadow and the Holy
100 THE MADONNA IN ART.
Family of the Lamb. (Madrid.) These
we may place beside the Madonna of the
Rocks, which is the only entirely authen-
tic Da Vinci Madonna which we have.
It is only the skilled connoisseur who, in
travelling from Paris to Vienna, and from
Vienna to Madrid, can hold in memory
the qualities of technique which link to-
gether the three pictures ; but for gen-
eral characteristics of composition, the
black and white reproductions may suffice.
Leonardo availed himself of his intimate
knowledge of Nature to choose from her
storehouse something which is unique
rather than typical. The rock grotto
doubtless has a real counterpart, but we
must go far to find it. In the river,
gleaming beyond, we see the painter's
characteristic treatment of water, which
Raphael was glad to adopt The tri-
angular arrangement of the figures, the
relation of the Virgin to the children*
LEONARDO DA VINCI. MADONNA OF THE ROCKS.
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. 103
the simple, childish beauty of the latter,
and their attitude towards each other
all these points suggest the source of
Raphael's similar conceptions. The Vir-
gin's hair falls over her shoulders entirely
unbound, in gentle, waving ripples.
We do not need to be told, though the
historian has taken pains to record it,
that a feature of personal beauty by which
Leonardo was always greatly pleased was
"curled and waving hair." We see it in
the first touch of his hand when, as a boy
in the workshop of Verrochio, he painted
the wavy-haired angel in his Master's
Baptism; and here, again, in the Virgin,
we find it the crowning element of her
mysterious loveliness. We try in vain to
penetrate the secret of her smile, it
is as evasive as it is enchanting. And
herein lies the distinguishing difference
between Leonardo and Raphael. The
former is always mysterious and subtle;
104 THE MADONNA IN ART.
the latter is always frank and Ingenuous e
While both are true interpreters of na-
ture, Leonardo reveals the rare and inex-
plicable, Raphael chooses the typical and
familiar. Both are possessed of a strong-
sense of the harmony of nature with
human life. The smile of the Virgin of
the Rocks is a part of the mystery of her
shadowy environment ; * the serenity of
the Madonna in the Meadow belongs to
the atmosphere of the open fields.
Among others who were affected by the
influence of Leonardo and chief of the
Lombards was Luini. His pastoral
Madonna has, however, little in common
with the landscapes of his master, judg-
ing from the lovely example in the Brera.
1 That the Leonardesque smiU requires a Leonardesque
setting is seen, I think, in the pictures by Da Vinci's imita-
tors. The Madonna by Sodoma, recently added to the
Brera Gallery at Milan, is an example in point. Here the
inevitable smile of mystery seems meaningless in the sunny,
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. IO$
The group of figures is strikingly sug-
gestive of Da Vinci, but the quiet, rural
pasture in which the Virgin sits is Luini's
own. In the distance is a thick clump of
trees, finely drawn in stem and branch.
At one side is a shepherd's hut with a
flock of sheep grazing near. The child
Jesus reaches from his mother's lap to play
with the lamb which the little St. John
has brought, a motif similar to Raphael's
Madrid picture, and perhaps due, in both
painters, to the example of Leonardo.
It is said by the learned that during the
period of the Renaissance the love of na-
ture received an immense impulse from
the revival of the Latin poets, and that this
impulse was felt most in the large cities.
In the pictures noted, we have seen its ef-
fect in Florentine and Lombard art; that
it was also felt in isolated places, we
may see in some of Correggio's work
at Parma, at about the same time. Two,
T06 THE MADONNA IN ART.
at least, of his Madonna pictures are as
famous for their beautiful landscapes as
for the rare grace and charm of their
figures. These are the kneeling Madon-
na, of the Uffizi, and "La Zingarella,"
at Naples. Both show a perfect adapta-
tion of the surroundings to the spirit of
the scene. In the first it is morning,
and the gladness of Nature reflects the
Mother's rapturous joy in her awaken-
ing babe. A brilliant light floods the
figures in the foreground and melts
across the green slopes into the hazy
distance of the sea-bound horizon. In
the second it is twilight, and a calm
stillness broods over all, as under the
feathery palms the Mother bends, watch-
ful, over her little one's slumbers. Such
were the revelations of Nature to the
country-bred painter from the little town
Turning now to Venice for our last
VERONESE. MADONNA AND SAINTS.
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. IO/
examples, we find that the love of natu-
ral scenery was remarkably strong in
this city of water and sky, where the
very absence of verdure may have created
a homesick longing for the green fields.
It was Venetian art which originated
that form of pastoral Madonna known
as the Santa Conversazione. This is
usually a long, narrow picture, showing
a group of sacred personages, against a
landscape setting, centering about the
Madonna and child. The composition
has none of the formality of the en-
throned Madonna. An underlying unity
of purpose and action binds all the fig-
ures together in natural and harmonious
The acknowledged leader of this style
of composition the inventor indeed ac-
cording to many was Palma Vecchio.
It is curious that of a painter whose
works are so widely admired, almost
108 THE MADONNA IN ART.
nothing is known. Even the traditions
which once lent color to his life have
been shattered by the ruthless hand of
the modern investigator. The span of
his life extended from 1480 to 1528.
Thus he came at the beginning of the
century made glorious by Titian, and
contributed not a little in his own way
to its glory.
It is supposed that he studied under
Giovanni Bellini, and at one time was
a friend and colleague of Lorenzo Lotto.
A child of the mountains for he was
born in Serinalta he never entirely lost
the influence of his early surroundings.
To the last his figures are grave, vigor-
ous, sometimes almost rude, partaking of
the characteristics of the everlasting hills.
Perhaps it was these traits which made the
Santa Conversazione a favorite composi-
tion with him. He has an intense love
of Nature in her most luxuriant mood.
THE PASTORAL MADONNA. Ill
For a collection of Palma's pictures, we
should choose at least four to represent
his treatment of the Santa Conversazione :
those at Naples, Dresden, Munich, and
Vienna. The Naples picture is considered
the most successful of Palma's large pic-
tures of this kind, but it is not easy for
the less critical observer to choose a favor-
ite among the four. One general formula
describes them all: a sunny landscape
with hills clad in their greenest garb; a
tree in the foreground, beneath which sits
the Virgin, a comely, country-bred matron,
who seems to have drawn her splendid
vigor from the clear, bright air. On her
lap she supports a sprightly little boy, who
is the centre of attention.
In the simpler compositions the Ma-
donna is at the left, and at the right kneel
or sit two saints. One is a handsome
young rustic, unkempt and roughly clad,
sometimes figuring as St. John the Bap-
112 THE MADONNA IN ART,
tist, and sometimes as St. Roch. With
him is contrasted a beautiful young female
saint, usually St. Catherine. Where the
composition includes other figures, the
Virgin is in the centre, with the attendant
personages symmetrically grouped on
either side. In the Vienna picture the
two additional figures at the left are the
aged St. Celestin and a fine St. Barbara.
Of all schools of painting, the Venetian
is the least translatable into black and
white, so rich in colors is the palette which
composed it. This is especially true of
Palma, and to understand aright his Santa
Conversazione, we must read into it the
harmony of colors which it expresses,
the chords of blue, red, brown, and green,
the shimmering lights and brilliant at-
The subject of the Santa Conversazione
should not be left without a brief reference
to other Venetians, who added to the pop-
FILIPPINO LIPPI, MADONNA IN A ROSE GARDEN,
THE' PASTORAL MADONNA. 115
ularity of this charming style of picture.
Berenson mentions seven by Palma's
pupil, Bonifazio Veronese, and one by his
friend, Lorenzo Lotto. Cima, Cariani,
Paris Bordone, and last, but not least, the
great Titian, 1 lent their gifts to the subject,
so that we have abundant evidence of the
Venetian love of natural scenery.
It remains to consider one more form
of the pastoral Madonna, that which
represents the Virgin and child in "a
garden inclosed, " in allusion to the sym-
bolism of Solomon's Song (4: 12). The
subject is found among the woodcuts of
Albert Durer, but I have never seen it in
any German painting.
In Italian art there are two famous
pictures of this class: by Francia, in the
Munich Gallery, and by Filippino Lippi
(or so attributed), in the Pitti, at Flor-
1 See particulaily Titian's works in the Louvre, of which
the Vierge au Lapin is an especially charming pastoral.
Il6 THE MADONNA IN ART.
ence. In both the motif is the same:
in the foreground, a square inclosure
surrounded by a rose-hedge, with a hilly
landscape in the distance; the Virgin
kneeling before her child in the centre.
Filippino Lippi's is one of those pic-
tures whose beauty attracts crowds of
admirers to the canvas. Copyists are
kept busy, repeating the composition for
eager purchasers, and it has made its
way all over the world. The circle of
graceful angels who, with the boy St.
John, join the mother in adoring the
Christ-child, is one of the chief attractions
of the picture. It is a pretty conceit that
one of these angels showers rose leaves
upon the babe.
The pastoral Madonna is the sort of
picture which can never be outgrown.
The charm of nature is as perennial as
is the beauty of motherhood, and the two
are always in harmony. Here, then, is a
THE PASTORAL MADONNA.
proper subject for modern Madonna art,
a field which has scarcely been opened by
the artists of our own day. Such pas-
toral Madonnas as have been painted
within recent years are all more or less
artificial in conception. Compared with
the idyllic charm of the sixteenth century
pictures, they seem like pretty scenes in
a well-mounted opera. We are looking
for better things.
THE MADONNA IN A HOME ENVIRONMENT.
SUBJECT so sacred as the Ma-
donna was long held in too great
reverence to permit of any com-
mon or realistic treatment The pastoral
setting brought the mother and her babe
into somewhat closer and more human
relations than had before been deemed
possible ; but art was slow to presume
any further upon this familiarity. The
Madonna as a domestic subject, repre-
sented in the interior of her home, was
hesitatingly adopted, and has been so
rarely treated, even down to our own
times, as to form but a small group of
pictures in the great body of art.
The Northern painters naturally led
SCHONGAUER. HOLY FAMILY.
IN A HOME ENVIRONMENT. 121
the way. Peculiarly home-loving in their
tastes, their ideal woman is the hausfran,
and it was with them no lowering of the
Madonna's dignity to represent her in
this capacity. A picture in the style of
Quentin Massys hangs in the Munich
Gallery, and shows a Flemish bedroom
of the fifteenth century. At the left
stands the bed, and on the right burns
the fire, with a kettle hanging over it.
The Virgin sits alone with her babe at
More frequently a domestic scene of
this sort includes other figures belonging
to the Holy Family. A typical German
example is the picture by Schongauer in
the Belvedere Gallery at Vienna. The
Virgin is seated in homely surroundings,
intent upon a bunch of grapes which she
holds in her hands, and which she has
taken from a basket standing on the floor
beside her. Long, waving hair falls over
122 THE MADONNA IN ART.
her shoulders ; a snowy kerchief is folded
primly in the neck of her dress; she
is the impersonation of virgin modesty.
Her baby boy stands on her lap, nestling
against his mother; his eyes fixed on
the fruit, his eager little face glowing
with pleasure. Beyond are seen the cat-
tle, which Joseph is feeding. He pauses
at the door, a bundle of hay in his arms,
to look in with fond pride at his young
wife and her child.
Schongauer's work belongs to the latter
part of the fifteenth century, and there
was nothing similar to it in Italy at the
same period. It is true that Madonnas in
domestic settings have been attributed to
contemporaneous Italians, but they were
probably by some Flemish hand.
Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael,
was perhaps the first of the Italians to
give any domestic touch to the subject
of the Madonna and child. His Ma-
RAPHAEL. MADONNA DELL' IMPANNATA.
IN A HOME ENVIRONMENT. 12$
donna della Catina of the Dresden Gal-
lery is well known. It is so called from
the basin in which the Christ-child stands
while the little St. John pours in water
from a pitcher for the bath. Another
picture by the same artist shows the
Madonna seated with her child in the
interior of a bedchamber. This was one
of the "discoveries" of the late Senator
Giovanni Morelli, the critic, and is in a
private collection in Dresden.
To Giulio Romano also, according to
recent criticism, is due the domestic Ma-
donna known as the " Impannata," and
usually attributed to Raphael. It is prob-
able that both artists had a hand in it,
the master in the arrangement of the
composition, the pupil in its execution.
A bed at one side is concealed by a green
curtain. In the rear is the cloth-covered
window which gives the picture its name.
Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene have
126 THE MADONNA IN ART.
brought home the child, who springs to
his mother's arms, smiling back brightly
at his friends. One other Madonna from
Raphael's brush (the Orleans) has an
interior setting, but the domestic environ-
ment here is undoubtedly the work of
some Flemish painter of later date.
By the seventeenth century, the Holy
Family in a home environment can be
found somewhat more often in various
localities. By the French painter Mi-
gnard there is a well-known picture in
the Louvre called La Vierge a la Grappe.
By F. Barocci of Urbino there is an
example in the National Gallery known
as the Madonna del Gatto, in which the
child holds a bird out of the reach of a
cat. A similar motif, certainly not a
pleasant one, is seen in Murillo's Holy
Family of the Bird, in Madrid. By Sa-
limbeni, in the Pitti, is a Holy Family
in an interior, showing the boy Jesus
IN A HOME ENVIRONMENT.
and his cousin St. John playing with
Rembrandt's domestic Madonna pic-
tures, equally homely as to environment,
are by no means scenes of hilarity, but
rather of frugal contentment Two
similar works bear the title of Le
Menage du Menuisier the Carpenter's
Home. In both, the scene is the interior
of a common room devoted to work
and household purposes. Joseph is seen
in the rear at his bench, while the cen-
tral figures are the mother and child.
In the Louvre picture, the Virgin's
mother is present, caressing her grand-
child, who is held at his mother's breast.
The composition at St. Petersburg (Her-
mitage Gallery) is simpler, and shows
the Virgin contemplating her babe as
he lies asleep in the cradle. Another
well-known picture by Rembrandt is in
the Munich Gallery, where again we have
128 THE MADONNA IN ART.
signs of the carpenter's toil, but where
the laborer has stopped for a moment
to peep at the babe, who has gone off to
dreamland at his mother's breast and now
sleeps sweetly in her lap. Let those who
think such pictures too homely for a
sacred theme compare them with the
simplicity of the Gospels.
MADONNAS CLASSED ACCORDING TG
THEIR SIGNIFICANCE AS TYPES
THE MADONNA OF LOVE.
(THE MATER AMABILIS.)
fNDOUBTEDLY the most popu-
lar of all Madonna subjects cer-
tainly the most easily understood
is the Mater Amabilis. The mother's
mood may be read at a glance: she is
showing in one of a thousand tender ways
her motherly affection for her child. She
clasps him in her arms, holding him to
her breast, pressing her face to his, kissing
him, caressing him, or playing with him.
Love is written in every line of her face ;
love is the key-note of the picture.
The style of composition best adapted
to such a theme is manifestly the simplest.
132 THE MADONNA IN ART.
The more formal types of the enthroned
and glorified Madonnas are the least
suitable for the display of maternal affec-
tion, while the portrait Madonna, and the
Madonna in landscape or domestic scenes,
are readily conceived as the Mater Ama-
bilis. Nevertheless, these distinctions have
not by any means been rigidly regarded
in art This is manifest in some of the
illustrations in Part L, as the Enthroned
Madonna, by Quentin Massys, where the
mother kisses her child, and Angelico's
Madonna in Glory, where she holds him
to her cheek.
Gathering our examples from so many
methods of composition, we are in the
midst of a multitude of pictures which no
man can number, and which set forth
every conceivable phase of motherliness.
Let us make Raphael our starting-point.
From the same master whose influence
led him to the study of external nature, he
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 133
learned also the study of human nature.
To the interpretation of mother-love he
brought all the fresh ardor of youth, and
a sunny temperament which saw only joy
in the face of Nature. One after another
of the series of his Florentine pictures
gives us a new glimpse of the loving rela-
tion between mother and child.
The Belle Jardiniere gazes into her
boy's face in fond absorption. The Tempi
Madonna holds him to her heart, pressing
her lips to his soft cheek. In the Orleans
and Colonna pictures she smiles indul-
gently into his eyes as he lies across her
lap, plucking at the bosom of her dress.
Other pictures show the two eagerly read-
ing together from the Book of Wisdom
(The Conestabile and Ansidei Madonnas).
The painter's later work evinces a
growing maturity of thought. In the
Holy Family of Francis I., how strong
and tender is the mother's attitude, as
134 THE MADONNA IN ART.
she stoops to lift her child from his cradle ;
in the Chair Madonna, how protecting is
the capacious embrace with which she
gathers him to herself in brooding love.
No technical artistic education is neces-
sary for the appreciation of such pictures.
All who have known a mother's love look
and understand, and look again and are
Correggio touches the heart in much
the same way; he, too, saw the world
through rose-colored glasses. His inter-
pretation of life is full of buoyant en-
joyment Beside the tranquil joy of
Raphael's ideals, his figures express a
tumultuous gladness, an overflowing gay-
ety. This is the more curious because
of the singular melancholy which is at-
tributed to him. The outer circumstances
of his life moved in a quiet groove which
was almost humdrum. He passed his
days in comparative obscurity at Parma,
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 135
far from the great art influences of his
time. But isolation seemed the better
to develop his rare individuality. He
was the architect of his own fortunes,
and wrought out independently a style
peculiar to himself. His most famous
Madonna pictures are large compositions,
crowded with figures of extravagant atti-
tudes and expression. The fame of these
more pretentious works rests not so much
upon their inner significance as upon
their splendid technique. They are un-
surpassed for masterly handling of color,
and for triumphs of chiaroscuro.
There are better qualities of sentiment
in the smaller pictures, where the mother
is alone with her child. It is here that
we find something worthy to compare
with Raphael. There are several of these,
produced in rapid succession during the
period when the artist was engaged upon
the frescoes of S. Giovanni (Parma), and
l$6 THE MADONNA IN ART.
soon after marriage had opened his heart
to sweet, domestic influences.
The first was the Uffizi picture, so
widely known and loved. The mother
has gathered up her mantle so that it
covers her head and drops at one side
on a step, forming a soft, blue cushion
for the babe. Here the little darling lies,
looking up into his mother's face. Kneel-
ing on the step below, she bends over
him, with her hands playfully outstretched,
in a transport of maternal affection.
Following this came the picture now in
the National Gallery, called the Madonna
della Cesta, from the basket that lies on
the ground. It is a domestic scene in
the outer air: the mother is dressing
her babe, and smilingly arrests his hand,
which, on a sudden impulse, he has
stretched towards some coveted object.
The same face is almost exactly repeated
in the Madonna of the Hermitage Gallery
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 13;
(St. Petersburg), who offers her breast to
her boy, at that moment turning about
to receive some fruit presented by a child
angel. There are two duplicates of this
picture in other galleries.
The Zingarella (the Gypsy) is so called
from the gypsy turban worn by the
Madonna. The mother, supposed to be
painted from the artist's wife, sits with
the child asleep on her lap. With moth-
erly tenderness she bends so closely over
him that her forehead touches his little
head. It is unfortunate that this beau-
tiful work is not better known. It is in
the Naples Gallery.
A comparison of these pictures dis-
closes a remarkable variety in action and
grouping. On the other hand, the Ma-
donnas are quite similar in general type.
With the exception of the Zingarella, who
is the most motherly, they are all in a
playful mood. The same playfulness, but
138 THE MADONNA IN ART.
of a more sweet and motherly kind, lights
the face of the Madonna della Scala. The
composition is somewhat in the portrait
style, showing the mother in half length,
seated under a sort of canopy. The babe
clings closely to her neck, turning about
at the spectator with a glance half shy
and half mischievous. His coyness awak-
ens a smile of tender amusement in the
gentle, young face above him.
The picture has an interesting history,
It was originally painted in fresco over
the eastern gate of Parma, where Vasari
saw and admired it. In after years, the
wall which it decorated was incorporated
into a small new church, of which it
formed the rear wall. To accommodate
the high level of the Madonna, the build-
ing was somewhat elevated, and, being
entered by a flight of steps, was known as
S. Maria della Scala (of the staircase).
The name attached itself to the picture
CORREGGIO. MADONNA BELLA SCALA.
THE MADONNA OF LOVE, 141
even after the church was destroyed (in
1812), and the fresco removed to the
town gallery. The marks of defacement
which it bears are due to the votive offer-
ings which were formerly fastened upon
it, among them, a silver crown worn by
the Madonna as late as the eighteenth
century. Though such scars injure its
artistic beauty, they add not a little to the
romantic interest which invests it.
Beside such names as Raphael and
Correggio, history furnishes but one other
worthy of comparison for the portrayal of
the Mater Amabilis it is Titian. His
Madonna is by no means uniformly moth-
erly. There are times when we look in
vain for any softening of her aristocratic
features ; when her stately dignity seems
quite incompatible with demonstrative-
ness. 1 But when love melts her heart
1 See the Madonna of the Cherries in the Belvedere at
Vienna, and the Madonna and Saints in the Dresden Gallery,
142 THE MADONNA IN ART.
how gracious is her unbending, how win-
ning her smile! Once she goes so far as
to play in the fields with her little boy,
quieting a rabbit with one hand for him
to admire. (La Vierge au Lapin, Louvre.)
In other pictures she holds him lying
across her lap, smiling thoughtfully upon
him. Such an one is the Madonna with
Sts. Ulfo and Brigida, in the Madrid Gal-
lery. The child is taking the flowers St.
Brigida offers him, and his mother looks
down with the pleased expression of fond
pride. Again, when her babe holds his
two little hands full of the roses his cousin
St. John has brought him, she smiles
gently at the eagerness of the two chil-
dren. (Uffizi Gallery.)
Another similar composition reveals a
still sweeter intimacy between mother and
son. The babe stretches out his hand
coaxingly towards his mother's breast, but
she draws her veil about her, gently deny-
TITIAN. MADONNA AND SAINTS. (DETAIL)
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 14$
ing his appeal. A more beautiful mother,
or a more bewitching babe, it were hard
to find. Three fine half-length figures of
saints complete this composition, each of
great interest and individuality, but not
necessary to the unity of action the
Madonna alone making a complete pic-
ture. There are two copies of this work,
one in the Belvedere at Vienna, and one
in the Louvre at Paris.
The motif 'of this picture is not unique
in art, as will have been remarked in
passing. The first duty of maternity, and
one of its purest joys, is to sustain the new-
born life at the mother's breast. A coarse
interpretation of the subject desecrates a
holy shrine, while a delicate rendering,
such as Raphael's or Titian's, invests it
with a new beauty. Other pictures of
this class should be mentioned in the
same connection. There is one in the
Hermitage Gallery at St. Petersburg, at-
146 THE MADONNA IN ART.
tributed by late critics to the little -known
painter, Bernardino de'Conti. The Ma-
donna's face, her hair drawn smoothly
over her temples, has a beautiful inatron-
liness. Still another is the Madonna of
the Green Cushion, by Solario, in the
Louvre. Here the babe lies on a cushion
before his mother, who bends over him
ecstatically, her fair young face aglow
with maternal love as she sees his con-
We have noticed that in one of Cor-
regio's pictures the babe lies asleep on
his mother's lap. It is interesting to
trace this pretty motif through other
works of art. No phase of motherhood
is more touching than the watchful care
which guards the child while he sleeps;
nor is infancy ever more appealing than
in peaceful and innocent slumber. Mrs.
Browning understood this well, when
she wrote her beautiful poem inter-
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 147
preting the thoughts of "the Virgin
Mary to the Child Jesus." Hopes and
fears, joy and pity, are alternately stirred
in the heart of the watcher, as she bends
over the tiny face, scanning every change
that flits across it. Each verse suggests
a subject for a picture.
We should naturally expect that Ra-
phael would not overlook so beautiful a
theme as the mother watching ' her sleep-
ing child. Nor are we disappointed.
The Madonna of the Diadem, in the
Louvre, belongs to this class of pictures.
Like the pastoral Madonnas of the Flor-
entine period, it includes the figure of
the little St. John, to whom, in this in-
stance, the proud mother is showing her
babe, daintily lifting the veil which cov-
ers his face.
The seventeenth century produced
many pictures of this class ; among them,
a beautiful work by Guido Reni, in Rome,
148 THE MADONNA IN ART.
deserves mention, being executed with
greater care than was usual with him.
Sassoferrato and Carlo Dolce frequently
painted the subject Their Madonnas
often seem affected, not to say senti-
mental, after the simpler and nobler
types of the earlier period. But nowhere
is their peculiar sweetness more appro-
priate than beside a sleeping babe. The
Corsini picture by Carlo Dolce is an
exquisite nursery scene. Its popularity
depends more, perhaps, upon the babe
than the mother. Like Lady Isobel's
child in another poem of motherhood
by Mrs. Browning, he sleeps
" Fast, warm, as if its mother's smile,
Laden with love's dewy weight,
And red as rose of Harpocrate,
Dropt upon its eyelids, pressed
Lashes to cheek in a sealed rest."
In Northern Madonna art, the Mater
Amabilis is the preeminent subject.
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 149
This fact is due partly to the German
theological tendency to subordinate the
mother to her divine Son, but more
especially to the characteristic domes-
ticity of Teutonic peoples. From Van
Eyck and Schongauer, through Diirer
and Holbein, down to Rembrandt and
Rubens, we trace this strongly marked
predilection in every style of composition,
regardless of proprieties. Van Eyck does
not hesitate to occupy his richly dressed
enthroned Madonna at Frankfort with
giving her breast to her babe, and Diirer
portrays the same maternal duties in the
Virgin on the Crescent Moon. Holbein's
Meyer Madonna, splendid with her jew-
elled crown, is not less motherly than
Schongauer's young Virgin sitting in a
Rembrandt in humble Dutch interiors,
Rubens in numerous Holy Families mod-
elled upon the Flemish life about him,
ISO THE MADONNA IN ART.
always conceive of the Virgin Mother as
delighting in her maternal cares. As has
been said of Diirer's Madonna, and
the description applies equally well to
many others in the North, "She suckles
her son with a calm feeling of happiness ;
she gazes upon him with admiration as
he lies upon her lap; she caresses him
and presses him to her bosom without
a thought whether it is becoming to her,
or whether she is being admired."
This entire absence of posing on the
part of the German Virgin is one of
the most admirable elements in this art.
This characteristic is perfectly illustrated
in Diirer's portrait Madonna of the Bel-
vedere Gallery, at Vienna. This is an
excellent specimen of the master, who,
alone of the Germans, is considered the
peer of his great Italian contemporaries.
Frankly admired both by Titian and
Raphael, he has in common with them
DURER. MADONNA AND CHILD,
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 153
the supreme gift of seeing and repro-
ducing natural human affections. His
work, however, is as thoroughly German
as theirs is Italian. The Madonna of
this picture has the round, maidenly face
of the typical German ideal. A trans-
parent veil droops over the flowing hair,
covered by a blue drapery above. The
mother holds her child high in her
arms, bending her face over him. The
babe is a beautiful little fellow, full of
vivacity. He holds up a pear gleefully, to
meet his mother's smile. The picture is
painted with great delicacy of finish.
The Mater Amabilis is the subject
par excellence of modern Madonna art
Carrying on its surface so much beauty
and significance, it is naturally attractive
to all figure painters. While other Ma-
donna subjects are too often beyond the
comprehension of either the artist or his
patron, this falls within the range of both.
I $4 THE MADONNA IN ART.
The shop windows are full of pretty pic
tures of this kind, in all styles of treat-
There are the portrait Madonnas by
Gabriel Max, already mentioned, and pas-
toral Madonnas by Bouguereau, by Carl
Miiller, by N. Barabino, and by Dagnan-
Bouveret Others carry the subject into
the more formal compositions of the en-
throned and enskied Madonnas, being,
as we have seen, not without illustrious
predecessors among the old masters. Of
these we have Quay's Mater Amabilis,
where the mother leans from her throne
to support her child, playing on the step
below with his cousin, St. John ; and
Mary L. Macomber's picture, where the
enthroned Madonna folds her babe in
her protecting arms, as if to shield him
from impending evil.
By Bodenhausen we have the extremely-
popular Mater Amabilis in Gloria, where
BODENHAUSEN. MADONNA AND CHILD.
THE MADONNA OF LOVE. 157
a girlish young mother, her long hair
streaming about her, stands in upper air,
poised above the great ball of the earth 5
holding her sweet babe to her heart
Pictures like these constantly reiterate
the story of a mother's love an old, old
story, which begins again with every new
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION.
(THE MADRE PIA.)
5 HE first tender joys of a mother's
love are strangely mingled with
awe. Her babe is a precious
gift of God, which she receives into trem-
bling hands. A new sense of responsi-
bility presses upon her with almost
overwhelming force. Hers is the highest
honor given unto woman ; she accepts it
with solemn joy, deeming herself all too
This spirit of humility has been ideal-
ized in art, in the form of Madonna known
as the Madre Pia. It represents the Vir-
gin Mary adoring her son. Sometimes
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION, 159
she kneels before him, sometimes she sits
with clasped hands, holding him in her
lap. Whatever the variation in attitude,
the thought is the same : it is an expres-
sion of that higher, finer aspect of mother-
hood which regards infancy as an object
not only of love, but of reverent humility.
It is a recognition of the great mystery
of life which invests even the helpless
babe with a dignity commanding respect.
A picture with so serious an intention
can never be widely understood. The
meaning is too subtile for the casual
observer. An outgrowth of mediaeval
pietism, it was superseded by more popu-
lar subjects, and has never since been
revived. The subject had its origin as
an idealized nativity, set in pastoral sur-
roundings which suggest the Bethlehem
manger. Theologically it represented the
Virgin as the first worshipper of her
divine Son. But though the sacred mys-
S6o THE MADONNA IN ART,
tery of Mary's experience sets her forever
apart as " blessed among women," she is
the type of true motherhood in all genera-
The Madonna in Adoration is, properly
speaking, a fifteenth century subject. It
belongs primarily to that most mystic of
all schools of art, the Umbrian, centering
in the town of Perugia. Nowhere else
was painting so distinctly an adjunct of re-
ligious services, chiefly designed to aid the
worshipper in prayer and contemplation.
As an exponent of the typical qualities
of the Perugian school stands the artist
who is known by its name, Perugino. His
favorite subject is the Madre Pia, and his
best picture of the kind is the Madonna
of the National Gallery. Having once
seen her here, the traveller recognizes her
again and again in other galleries, in the
many replicas of this charming composi-
tion. The Madonna kneels in the fore-
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION. l6l
ground, adoring with folded hands the
child, who is supported in a sitting pos-
ture on the ground, by a guardian angel
The Virgin's face is full of fervent and
Perugino had no direct imitator of his
Madre Pia, but his Bolognese admirer
Francia treated the subject in a way that
readily suggests the source of his inspira-
tion. His Madonna of the Rose Garden
in Munich instantly recalls Perugino. The
artist has, however, chosen a novel motif
in representing the moment when the
Virgin is just sinking on her knees, as if
overcome by emotion.
Between the Umbrian school and the
Florentine, a reciprocal influence was ex-
erted. If the latter taught the former
many secrets of composition and techni-
cal execution, the Umbrians in turn im-
parted something of their mysticism to
their more matter-of-fact neighbors. While
162 THE MADONNA IN ART.
the Umbrian school of the fifteenth cen-
tury was occupied with the Madre Pia,
Florence also was devoted to the same
subject Sculpture led the race, and in
the front ranks was Luca della Robbia,
founder of the school which bears his
Beginning as a worker in marble, his
inventive genius presently wrought out
a style of sculpture peculiarly his own.
This was the enamelled terra-cotta bas-
relief showing pure white figures against
a background of pale blue. They were
made chiefly in circular medallions, lu-
nettes, and tabernacles, and were scattered
throughout the churches and homes of
Associated with Luca in his work was
his nephew Andrea, who, in turn, had
three sculptor sons, Giovanni, Girolamo,
and Luca II. So great was the demand
for their ware that the Della Robbia
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION, 163
studios became a veritable manufactory
from which hundreds of pieces went
forth. Of these, a goodly number rep-
resent the Madonna in Adoration. While
it is difficult to trace every one of these
with absolute correctness to its individ-
ual author, the majority seem to be by
Andrea, who, as 'it would appear, had a
special fondness for the subject. It must
be acknowledged that the nephew is in-
ferior to his uncle in his ideal of the
Virgin, less original than Luca in his
conceptions, and less noble in his results.
His work, notwithstanding, has many
charming qualities, which are specially
appropriate to the character of the par-
ticular subject under consideration. There
is, indeed, a peculiar value in low relief,
for purposes of idealization. It has an
effect of spiritualizing the material, and
giving the figures an ethereal appear-
ance. Andrea profited by this advan-
1 64 THE MADONNA IN ART.
tage, and, in addition, showed great
delicacy of judgment in subduing curves
and retaining simplicity in his lines.
We may see all this in the popular
tabernacle which he designed, and of
which there are at least five, and prob-
ably more, copies. The Madonna kneels
prayerfully before her babe, who lies on
the ground by some lily stalks. In the
sky above are two cherubim and hands
holding a crown. There is a girlish grace
in the kneeling figure, and a rare sweet-
ness in the face, entirely free from senti-
mentality. A severe simplicity of drapery,
and the absence of all unnecessary ac-
cessories, are points of excellence worth
noting. The composition was sometimes
varied by the introduction of different
figures in the sky, other cherubim, or the
head of the Almighty, with the Dove.
Only second in popularity to this was
Andrea's circular medallion of the Na-
ANDREA DELLA ROBBIA. MADONNA IN ADORATION.
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION. 1 67
tivity, with the Virgin and St. John in
adoration. There are two copies of
this in the Florentine Academy, one in
the Louvre, and one in Berlin. The ef-
fect of crowding so many figures into
a small compass is not so pleasing as
the classical simplicity of the former
Contemporary with the Delia Robbias
was another Florentine family of artists
equally numerous. Of the five Rossel-
lini, Antonio is of greatest interest to
us, as a sculptor who had some qualities
in common with the famous porcelain
workers. Like them, he had a special
gift for the Madonna in Adoration. We
can see this subject in his best style of
treatment, in the beautiful Nativity in
San Miniato, "which may be regarded
as one of the most charming productions
of the best period of Tuscan art." ' The
1 C. C. Perkins, in Tuscan Sculpton.
l68 THE MADONNA IN ART.
tourist will consider it a rich reward for
his climb to the quaint old church on
the ramparts overhanging the Arno. If
perchance his wanderings lead him, on
another occasion, to the hill rising on
the opposite side, he will find, in the
Cathedral of Fiesole, a fitting compan-
ion in the altar-piece by Mino da Fiesole.
This is a decidedly unique rendering of
the Madre Pia. The Virgin kneels in a
niche, facing the spectator, adoring the
Christ-child, who sits on the steps below
her, turning to the little Baptist, who
kneels at one side on a still lower step.
Passing from the sculpture of Florence
to its painting, it is fitting that we men-
tion first of all the friend and fellow-pupil
of the Umbrian Perugino, Lorenzo di
Credi. The two had much in common.
Trained together in the workshop of the
sculptor Verrocchio, in those days of
intense religious stress, they both became
LORENZO DI CREDI. NATIVITY,
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION. 171
followers of the prophet prior of San
Marco, Savonarola, Their religious ear-
nestness naturally found expression in the
beautiful subject of the Madre Pia. The
Florentine artist, though not less devout
than his friend, introduces into his work
an element of joy, characteristic of his
surroundings, and more attractive than
the somewhat melancholy types of Um-
bria. His Adoration, in the Uffizi, is
an admirable example of his best work.
Following the fashion made popular by
the Delia Robbias, the artist chose for
his composition the round picture, or
tow do. By tli is elimination of unneces-
sary corners, the attention centres in the
beautiful figure of the Virgin, which
occupies a large portion of the circle.
In exquisite keeping with the modest
loveliness of her face, a delicate, trans-
parent veil is knotted over her smooth
hair, and falls over the round curves of
172 THE MADONNA IN ART.
her neck. In expression and attitude
she is the perfect impersonation of the
spirit of humility, joyfully submissive to
her high calling, reverently acknowledg-
ing her unworthiness.
This picture may be taken as a typ-
ical example of the subject in Florentine
painting. Lorenzo himself repeated the
composition many times, and numerous
other works could be mentioned, strik-
ingly similar in treatment, by Ghirlandajo,
in the Florence Academy ; by Signorelli,
in the National Gallery; by Albertinelli, in
the Pitti ; by Filippo Lippi, in the Berlin
Gallery; by Filippino Lippi, in the Pitti;
and so on through the list.
In many cases the subject seems to
have been chosen, not so much from any
devotional spirit on the part of the painter,
as from force of imitation of the prevail-
ing Florentine fashion. This is espe-
cially true in the case of Filippo Lippi
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION. 173
who does not bear the best of reputa-
tions. Although a brother in the Car-
melite monastery, his love of worldly
pleasures often led him astray, if we are
to believe the gossip of the old annalists,
We may allow much for the exaggera-
tions of scandal, but still be forced to
admit that his candid realism is plain
evidence of a closer study of nature than
Browning has given us a fine analysis
of his character in the poem bearing his
name, " Fra Lippo Lippi." The artist
monk, caught in the streets of the city on
his return from some midnight revel, ex-
plains his constant quarrel with the rules of
art laid down by ecclesiastical authorities.
They insist that his business is "to the
souls of men," and that it is "quite from
the mark of painting" to make "faces,
arms, legs, and bodies like the true." On
his part, he claims that it will not help
174 THE MADONNA IN ART.
the interpretation of soul, by painting
body ill. An intense lover of every beau-
tiful line and color in God's world, he
believes that these things are given us
to be thankful for, not to pass over or
despise. Obliged to devote himself to a
class of subjects with which he had little
sympathy, he compromised with his crit-
ics by adopting the traditional forms of
composition, and treating them after the
manner of genre painters, in types drawn
from the ordinary life about him. The
kneeling Madre Pia he painted three
times : two of the pictures are in the
Florence Academy, and the third and
best is in the Berlin Gallery.
In the Madonna of the Uffizi, he broke
away somewhat from tradition, and ren-
dered quite a new version of the subject.
The Virgin is seated with folded hands,
adoring her child, who is held up before
her by tAvo boy angels. His type of child-
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION. 177
hood is by no means pretty, though alto-
gether natural. The Virgin cannot be
called either intellectual or spiritual, but
" where," as a noted critic has asked, " can
we find a face more winsome and appeal-
ing ? " Certainly she is a lovely woman^
"If you get simple beauty and naught else,
That's somewhat : and you'll find the soul you
Within yourself, when you return him thanks."
The idea of the seated Madre Pia, com-
paratively rare in Florentine art, is quite
frequent in northern Italy. Sometimes
the setting is a landscape, in the fore-
ground of which the Madonna sits ador-
ing the babe lying on her lap. Ex-
amples are by Basaiti (Paduan), in the
National Gallery, and by a painter of
Titian's school, in Berlin. Much -more
common is the enthroned Madonna in
THE MADONNA IN ART.
Adoration, and for this we may turn to
the pictures of the Vivarini, Bartolom-
meo and Luigi, or Alvise. These men
were of Muranese origin, and in the very
beginning of Venetian art history were
at the head of their profession, until
finally eclipsed by the rival family of the
Bellini. Among their works, we find by
each one at least three pictures of the
type described. As the most worthy of
description, we may select the altar-piece
by Luigi, in the Church of the Redentore.
As it is one of the most popular Madonnas
in Venice, no collection is complete with-
out it. A green curtain forms the back-
ground, against which the plain marble
throne-chair is brought into relief. The
Virgin sits wrapt in her own thoughts, an
impersonation of tranquil dignity. A
heavy wimple falls low over her forehead,
entirely concealing her hair, and with its
severe simplicity accentuating the chaste
LUIGI VIVARINI. MADONNA AND CHILD.
THE MADONNA IN ADORATION. l8l
beauty of her face. Two fascinating little
cherubs sit on a parapet in front, playing
on lutes ; and, lulled by their gentle music,
the sweet babe sleeps on, serenely uncon-
scious of it all.
Before such pictures as this, gleaming
in the dim light of quiet chapels, many a
heart, before unbelieving, may learn a new
reverence for the mysterious sanctity of
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS.
|N proportion to a mother's ideals
and ambitions for her child does
her love take on a higher and
purer aspect. The noblest mother is the
most unselfish; she regards her child as
a sacred charge, only temporarily com-
mitted to her keeping. Her care is to
nurture and train him for his part in life ;
this is the object of her constant endeavor.
Thus she comes to look upon him as hers
and yet not hers. In one sense he is her
very own ; in another, he belongs to the
universal life which he is to serve. There
is no conflict between the two ideas ; they
are the obverse sides of one great truth.
Both must be recognized for a complete
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. 183
understanding of life. What is true of all
motherhood finds a supreme illustration
in the character of the Virgin Mary. She
understood from the first that her son had
a great mission to fulfil, that his work had
somewhat to do with a mighty kingdom.
Never for a moment did she lose sight of
these things as she " pondered them in her
heart" Her highest joy was to present
him to the world for the fulfilment of his
As a subject of art, this phase of the
Madonna's character requires a mode of
treatment quite unlike that of the Mater
Amabilis or the Maclrc Pia. The atti-
tude and expression of the Virgin are
appropriate to her office as the Christ-
bearer. Both mother and child, no
longer absorbed in each other, direct
their glance towards the people to whom
he is given for a witness. (Isaiah 55 : 4.)
These may be the spectators looking
1 84 THE MADONNA IN ART.
at the picture, or the saints and votaries
filling the composition. The mother's
lap is the throne for the child, from
which, standing or sitting, he gives his
It will be readily understood that so
lofty a theme can not be common in art.
In our own day, it has, with the Madre
Pia, passed almost entirely out of the
range of art subjects; modern painters
do not try such heights. Franz Defreg^
ger is alone in having made an honest
and earnest effort, not without success, to
express his conception of the theme. To
his Enthroned Madonna at Dolsach, and ,
his less well-known Madonna in Glory,
let us pay this passing word of honor.
To approach our subject in the most
systematic way, we will go back to the
beginnings of Madonna art. Mrs. Jame-
son tells us that the group of Virgin
and Son was, in its first intention, a
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. l3$
theological symbol, and not a representa-
tion, It was a device set up in the ortho-
dox churches as a definite formalization
of a creed. The first Madonnas showed
none of the aspects of ordinary mother-
hood in attitude, gesture, or expression.
The theological element in the picture
was the first consideration. We may
take as a representative case the Virgin
Nike-pcja (of Victory), supposed to be
the same which Eudocia, wife of the
Emperor Theodosius II., discovered in
her travels in Palestine, and sent to
Constantinople, whence it was finally
brought to St. Mark's, Venice. The
Virgin a half-length figure holds the
child in front of her, like a doll, as if
exhibiting him to the gaze of the wor-
shippers before the altar over which the
picture hung. Both faces look directly
out at the spectator, with grave and stiff
1 86 THE MADONNA IN ART,
The progress of painting, and the
growing love of beauty, at length wrought
a change. The time came when art
saw the possibility of uniting, with the
religious conception of previous centu-
ries, a more natural ideal of motherhood.
Thus, while the Madonna continues to
be preeminently a witness of her son's
greatness, it is not at the sacrifice of
In Venetian art-history, Giovanni Bel-
lini stands at the period when the old
was just merging into the new. We
have already seen how greatly he and
his contemporaries differed from the
painters of a later time. Taking advan-
tage of all the progressive methods of
the day, they did not relinquish the re-
ligious spirit of their predecessors, hence
their work embodies the best elements
of the old and new. As we examine the
Bellini Madonnas, one after another, we
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. 1 87
can not fail to notice how delicately they
interpret the relation of the mother to her
Loving and gracious as she is, she is
not the Mater Amabilis: she is too pre-
occupied, though not too cold for ca-
resses. Neither is she the Madre Pia,
though by no means lacking in humility.
Her thoughts are of the future, rather
than of the present. True to a mother's
instinct, she encircles her child with a
protecting arm, but her face is turned,
riot to his, but to the world. Both are
looking steadfastly forward to the great
work before them. Their eyes have the
far-seeing look of those absorbed in noble
dreams. Their faces are full of sweet
earnestness, not of the ascetic sort, but
joyful, with a calm, tranquil gladness.
This description applies almost equally
well to a half dozen or more of Bellini's
Madonna,s, in various styles of compo-
188 THE MADONNA IN ART.
sition. For the sake of definiteness, we
may specify the Madonna between St.
Paul and St. George in the Venice Acad-
emy. The Virgin is in half-length, against
a scarlet curtain, supporting the child,
who stands on the coping of a balcony.
In technical qualities alone, the picture
is a notable one for precision of drawing,
breadth of light and shade, and brilliant
color. In Christian sentiment it is among
the rare treasures of Italian art. The
National Gallery and the Brera contain
others which are very similar in style and
The three enthroned Madonnas which
have already been noticed are not less
remarkable for religious significance.
There is a peculiar freshness and vi-
vacity in the San Giobbe picture. Both
Virgin and child are alert and eager,
welcoming the future with smiling and
youthful enthusiasm. The Frari Ma*
GIOVANNI BELLINI. MADONNA BETWEEN ST. GEORGE AND
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. IQI
donna is of a more subdued type, but is
not less true to her ideal. The Virgin
of San Zaccaria is more thoughtful and
reflective, but she holds her child up
bravely, that he may give his blessing to
It will have been noticed that the
throne is an especially appropriate set-
ting for the Madonna as Witness. It is
one of the functions of royalty that the
queen should show the prince to his
people. We therefore turn naturally to
this class of pictures for examples. To
those of Bellini just cited we may add,
from the others mentioned in the second
chapter, the Madonnas by Cima, by
Palma, and by Montagna in Venetian
Art; and by Luini and by Botticelli in
the Lombard and Florentine schools re-
spectively. Luini's picture is one which
readily touches the heart. The Virgin
unites the sweetness of fresh, young
1 92 THE MADONNA IN ART.
motherhood with womanly dignity ot
character. Her smile has nothing of
mystery in it; it is simply sweet and
winning. The Christ-child is a lovely
boy, steadying himself against his moth-
er's breast, and yet with an air of self-
reliance. The two understand each other
One could hardly imagine two more
dissimilar spirits than Luini and Botti-
cellL To Luini's Virgin, the conscious-
ness of her son's greatness is a proud
honor, accepted seriously, but gladly. To
Botticelli, on the other hand, it brings a
profound melancholy. This is so marked
that at first sight almost every one is
repelled by Botticelli, and yields only after
long familiarity to the mysterious fascina-
tion of the sad-eyed Madonna, who holds
her babe almost listlessly, as her head
droops with the weight of her sorrow.
Her expression is the same whatever her
LUINI -MADONNA WITH ST. BARBARA AND ST. ANTHONY.
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. 195
attitude, when she presses her babe to
her bosom as the Mater Amabilis (in
the Borghese Gallery at Rome, in the
Dresden Gallery, and Louvre), or when,
as witness to her son's destiny, she holds
him forth to be seen of men. It is in
this last capacity that her mood is most
intelligible. She seems oppressed rather
than humbled by her honors; reluctant,
rather than glad to assume them; yet,
with proud dignity, determined to do
her part, though her heart break in the
doing. Her nature is too deep to accept
the joy without counting the cost, and
her vision looks beyond Bethlehem to
Calvary. This is well illustrated in the
picture of the Berlin Gallery. 1 The queen
1 The Berlin Gallery contains two Enthroned Madon-
nas attributed to Botticelli. The description here, and on
page 40 makes it clear that the reference is to the picture
numbered 102. This does not appear in Berenson's list of
Botticelli's works, but is treated as authentic by Crowe and
196 THE MADONNA IN ART.
mother rises with the prince to receive
the homage of humanity. The boy, old
beyond his years, gravely raises his right
hand to bless his people, the other still
clinging, with infantile grace, to the dress
of his mother. Lovely, rose -crowned
angels hold court on either side, bearing
lighted tapers in jars of roses.
The Madonna of the Pomegranate is
another work by Botticelli which belongs
in this class of pictures. It is a tondo in
the Uffizi, showing the figures in half
length. The Virgin, encircled by angels,
holds the child half reclining on her lap.
Her face is inexpressibly sad, and the
child shares her mood, as he raises his
little hand to bless the spectator. Two
angels bear the Virgin's flowers, roses
and lilies ; two others hold books. They
bend towards the queen as the petals of
a rose bend towards the centre, with the
serious grace peculiar to Botticelli,
BOTTUKUJ .-MADONNA OF THE
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. 199
In connection with the peculiar type of
melancholy exhibited on the face of Botti-
celli's Madonna, it will be of interest to
refer to the work of Francia. The two
artists were, in some points, kindred
spirits ; both felt the burden of life's mys-
tery and sorrow. Francia, as we have
seen, imbibed from the works of Perugino
something of the spirit of mysticism com-
mon to the Umbrian school. But while
there is a certain resemblance between
his Madonna and Perugino's, the former
has less of sentimentality than the latter,
and more real melancholy. Like Botti-
celli's Virgin, she acts her part half-heart-
edly, as if the sword had already begun to
pierce her heart Francia's favorite Ma-
donna subjects were of the higher order,
the Madre Pia and the Madonna as Wit-
ness. In treating the latter, his Christ-
child is always in keeping with the mother,
a grave little fellow who gives the bless-
2OO THE MADONNA IN ART.
ing with almost touching dignity. En-
throned Madonnas illustrating the theme
are those of the Hermitage at St. Peters-
burg, of the Belvedere at Vienna, and the
famous Bentivoglio Madonna in S. Jacopo
Maggiore at Bologna. The last-named is
one of the works which enable us to un-
derstand Raphael's high praise of the
Bolognese master. It is a noble composi-
tion, full of strong religious feeling.
It is a long leap from the fifteenth to
the seventeenth centuries, taking us from
a period of genuine religious fervor in art,
into an age of artificial imitation. In the
midst of the decadence of old ideals and
the birth of art methods entirely new,
arose one who seemed to be the reincarna-
tion of the old spirit in a form peculiar tc
his age and race. This was Murillo, the
peasant-painter of Spain, than whom was
never artist more pious, not even except-
ing the angelic brother of San Marco,
MURILLO. MADONNA AND CHILD,
V, ~ . ADONNA AS WITNESS. 203
h ;-- a ; roe ; 'i >^ seventeenth century kept
aluv , x , :x j .ame of religious fervor,
whit. 1 : \ o turned within the devout
Italiz. i or ''.'..' early school Through all
his p^'uxj y the Virgin and child we
can sec that *-po Madonna as the Christ-
bearer k f '-e 'deal ' r always has in view.
He falls s vjr, ^ i-,, ^C-L through any lack
of earnest s&, ; )ii; because his type of
womauhooG '- inc:ipai\e or expressing such
lofty idealism liis virgui?:* are modelled
upon the simplu ^ndalusian maidens,
sweet, 1 timid, dark-'oyed creatures. Their
faces glow with gentle affection as they
look wistfully out of the picture, or raise
their eyes to heaven, as if dimly discern-
ing the heights which they have never
The Pitti Madonna is one of this sweet
company, and perhaps the loveliest of
them all Both she and her beautiful boy
are full of gentle earnestness, and if they
204 THE MADONNA IN ART.
are too simple-minded to realize what is
in store for them, they are none the less
ready to do the Father's will
One more picture remains for us to
consider as an illustration of the Ma-
donna as Witness. Had we mentioned
it first, nothing further could have been
said on the subject. The Sistine Madonna
is the greatest ever produced, from every
point of view. We have already noted
the superiority of its artistic composition
over all other enskied Madonnas, and are
the more ready to appreciate its higher
merits ; for its strongest hold upon our
admiration is in its moral and religious
significance. Its theme is the transfigur-
ation of loving and consecrated mother-
hood. Mother and child, united in love,
move towards the glorious consummation
of the heavenly kingdom.
It has been said that Raphael made
no preparatory studies for this Madonna,
R \HAFL STSTTNF MADONNA.
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. 2O/
but, in a larger sense, he spent his life
in preparation for it. He had begun
by imitating the mystic sweetness of
Perugino's types, drawn by an intuitive
delicacy of perception to this spiritual
idealism, while yet too inexperienced to,
express any originality. Then, by an
inevitable reaction, he threw himself into
the creation of a purely naturalistic Ma-
donna, and carried the Mater Amabilis to
its utmost perfection. Having mastered
all the secrets of woman's beauty, he
returned once more to the higher realm
of idealism to send forth his matured
conception of the Madonna as the Christ-
The Sistine Madonna is above all
words of praise; all extravagance of ex-
pression is silenced before her simplicity.
Hers is the beauty of symmetrically de-
veloped womanhood ; the perfect poise of
her figure is not more marked than the
208 THE MADONNA IN ART.
perfect poise of her character. Not one
false note, not one exaggerated emphasis,
jars upon the harmony of body, soul, and
spirit Confident, but entirely unassum-
ing ; serious, but without sadness ; joyous,
but not to mirthfulness ; eager, but with-
out haste; she moves steadily forward
with steps timed to the rhythmic music
of the spheres. The child is no burden,
but a part of her very being. The two
are one in love, thought, and purpose.
Sharing the secret of his sacred calling,
the mother bears her son forth to meet
his glorious destiny.
Art can pay no higher tribute to Mary,
the Mother of Jesus, than to show her in
this phase of her motherhood. We sym-
pathize with her maternal tenderness,
lavishing fond caresses upon her child.
We go still deeper into her experience
when we see her bowed in sweet humility
before the cares and duties she is called
THE MADONNA AS WITNESS. 2CKJ
upon to assume. But we are admitted to
the most cherished aspirations of her soul,
when \ve see her oblivious of self, carrying
her child forth to the service of humanity.
It is thus that she becomes one of his
"witnesses unto the people; " it is thus that
a all generations shall call her blessed."
MRS. ANNA JAMESON: The Legends of the Madonna,
CROWE AND CAVALCASEL.LE : History of Painting in
Italy. London, 1864. History of Painting in North
Italy. London, 1871. Titian: His Life and
Times. London, 1877.
KUGLER: Handbook of the Italian Schools, revised by
A. H. Layard. London, 1887. Handbook of the
German, Flemish, and Dutch Schools, revised by
J. A. Crowe. London, 1889.
MORELLI: Critical Studies of the Italian Painters.
Translated by Constance Jocelyn Ffoulkes. Lon-
J. A. SYMONDS : Renaissance in Italy : The Fine Arts.
New York, 1888.
WALTER H. PATER: Studies in the History of the
Renaissance. London, 1873.
BERNHARD BERENSON : The Venetian Painters of the
Renaissance. New York, 1894. The Florentine
Painters of the Renaissance. New York, 1896.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. 21 1
KARL KAROLY : A Guide to the Paintings of Florence.
London and New York, 1893. A Guide to the
Paintings of Venice. London and New York, 1895.
C. C. PERKINS: Tuscan Sculptors. London, 1864.
CAVALUCCI ET MOLINIER : Les Delia Robbia : leur vie
et leur ceuvre. Paris, 1884.
EUGENE MUNTZ: Raphael. Translated by Walter
Armstrong. London, 1882.
INDEX OF ARTISTS.
Albertinelli, Madonna in the Pitti, 172.
Angelico, Fra, Madonna della Stella, 66-69, r 3 2 -
Barabino, N., Mater Amabilis, 1 54.
Barocci, F., Madonna del Gatto, 126.
Bartolommeo, Madonna in the Capella Giovanato, 30; Ma-
donnas in the Florence Academy, 31 ; Enthroned Madon-
na in the Pitti, 42, 47.
Basaiti, Madonna in the National Gallery, 177.
Bellini, Giovanni, Madonna of San Giobbe, 50, 188 ; Frari
Madonna, 50, 191 ; Madonna of San Zaccaria, 50-53, 191 ;
Madonna between St. Paul and St. George, 188; Ma-
donna in the National Gallery, 188; Madonna in the
Bellini, Jacopo, Madonna in the Venice Academy, 25.
Bodenhausen, Madonna, 90, 1 54.
Bonifazio Veronese, Seven pictures of the Santa Conversa-
Botticelli, Enthroned Madonna at Berlin, 40, 191, 195, 196;
Madonna in the Borghese, 195 , Madonna in the Dres-
den Gallery, 195 ; Madonna in the Louvre, 195 ; Madonna
of the Pomegranate, 196; Madonna of the Inkhorn, 59.
Bouguereau, Enthroned Madonna, 64 ; Madonna of the An-
gels, 90 ; Mater Amabilis, 1 54.
Byzantine Madonna in the Ara Coeli, 25; in S. Maria in
Cosmedino, 25 ; in St. Mark's, 25, 185 ; at Padua, 25.
Cano, Alonzo, Madonna of Bethlehem, 32.
214 THE MADONNA IN ART.
Caroto, Gianfrancesco, Madonna in Sant' Anastasia, So;
Madonna in San Giorgio, 80 ; Madonna in San Fenno
Cavazzola, see Morando.
Cima, Enthroned Madonna in the Venice Academy, 49, 191.
Cimabue, Ruccellai Madonna, 38-39.
Conti, Bernardino de', Madonna in the Hermitage Gallery, 146.
Correggio, Madonnas in Dresden, 45 ; Madonna of St Sebas-
tian, 70; Madonna in the tiffin, 106, 136; La Zingarella,
1 06, 137, 146; Madonna della Cesta, 136; Madonna
della Scala, 138, 141.
Credi, Lorenzo di, Nativity in the Uffizi, 171.
Crivelli, Carlo, Use of Crown by, 59.
Dagnan-Bouveret, Mater Amabilis, 154.
Defregger, Franz, Madonna at Dolsach, 184; Madonna in
Glory, 90, 184.
Dolce, Carlo, Madonna, 148.
Durer, Woodcut, 60; Madonna in "garden inclosed," 115;
Madonna in the Belvedere, 150-153; Virgin on the
Crescent Moon, 89, 149.
Eyck, Van, Madonna in Frankfort, 60, 1 49.
Fiesole, Mino da, Altar-piece at Fiesole, 168.
Francia, Madonna of the Rose Garden, 115, 161 ; Enthroned
Madonna in the Hermitage, 200 ; Enthroned Madonna
in the Belvedere, 200 ; Bentivoglio Madonna, 200.
Ghirlandajo, Enthroned Madonna in the Uffizi, 40 ; Madonna
in the Florence Academy, 172.
Giorgione, Madonna of Castel - Franco, 54 ; Madonna in
Guay, Mater Amabilis, 1 54.
Holbein, Meyer Madonna, 60, 149,
Ittenbach, Enthroned Madonna, 64.
Leonardo da Vinci, see Vinci.
Libri, Girolamo dai, Madonna in San Giorgio Maggiore,
Verona, 48 ; Madonna of St. Andrew and St. Peter, 8x.
INDEX OF ARTISTS. 21$
Lippi, Filippino, Madonna in the Pitti, 115-116, 172.
Lippi, Filippo, Madonna in the Berlin Gallery, 172, 174 ; Ma-
donnas in the Florence Academy, 174; Madonna in the
Lotto, Madonna of S. Bartolommeo, 48; Santa Conversa-
Luini, Madonna between St. Anthony and St. Barbara, 45,
191-192; Pastoral Madonna, 104-105.
Macomber, Mary L., Madonna, 154.
Mantegna, Madonna of Victory, 41, 48.
Mariotto, Bernardino di, Madonna, 47.
Massys, Quentin, Enthroned Madonna in the Berlin Gallery
63, 132 ; Madonna in the Munich Gallery, 121.
Max, Gabriel, Madonnas, 35, 154.
Memling, Madonna at Bruges, 60.
Mignard, La Vierge & la Grappe, 126.
Montagna, Madonna in the Brera, 40, 191.
Morando, Madonna in Glory in Verona Gallery, 81.
Moretto, Madonna of S. Clemente, 48 ; Madonna of St. John
the Evangelist, 77 ; Madonna of San Giorgio Maggiore,
77; Madonna in the Berlin Gallery, 78-79.
MUller, Carl, Mater Amabilis, 154.
Murano, Giovanni da, Use of Crown by, 59.
Murillo, Madonna of thu Napkin, 32 ; Holy Family of the
Bird, 126; Madonna in the Pitti, 203-204.
Palma, Enthroned Madonna at Vicenza, 49, 191 ; Santa Con-
versazione at Naples, in ; Santa Conversazione at Dres-
den, in ; Santa Conversazione at Munich, in ; Santa
Conversazione at Vienna, nr, 112.
Perugino, Enthroned Madonna in the Vatican, 45; Madonna
in the National Gallery, 160.
Pinturicchio, Madonna in St. Andrea, Perugia, 46.
Raphael, Ansidei Madonna, 46, 133; Madonna of St. An-
thony, 47 ; Baldacchino Madonna, 47 ; Madonna of the
'Jasii Alba, 99; the Chair Madonna, 134 j the Colonna
2l6 THE MADONNA IN ART.
Madonna, 133; the Conestabile Madonna, 133; Jla-
donna of the Diadem, 147; Foligno Madonna, 84-85;
Granduca Madonna, 29 ; Madonna of the Goldfinch, 93,
97, 98; Holy Family of Francis I., 133 ; Holy Family of
the Lamb, 100, 105; Madonna dell' Impannata, 125;
Belle Jardiniere, 93, 97, 98 ; Madonna in the Meadow,
93 97 9^ 99> IO 4> Orleans Madonna, 126, 133; Sistine
Madonna, 85, 204, 208 ; Tempi Madonna, 30, 133.
Rembrandt, Le Menage du Menuisier in the Louvre, 1 27 ; in
St. Petersburg, 127; Madonna in the Munich Gallery,
Reni, Guido, Madonna, 147.
Robbia, Andrea della, Popular tabernacle, 164; Nativity,
i6 7 .
Robbia, Giovanni, Son of Andrea, 162.
Robbia, Girolamo della, Son of Andrea, 162.
Robbia, Luca della, Founder of his school, 162.
Robbia, Luca della, II., Son of Andrea, 162.
Romano, Giulio, Madonna della Catina, 125; his work on
the Madonna dell' Impannata, 125 ; Madonna in a Bed-
Rossellino, Antonio, Nativity in Sari Miniato, 167.
Rubens, Holy Families, 149.
Salimbeni, Holy Family, 126.
Sarto, Andrea del, Madonna di San Francesco, 42 ; Madonna
in the Berlin Gallery, 69.
Sassoferrato, Madonna in Vatican Gallery, 89; Madonna
with Sleeping Child, 148.
Savoldo, Madonna in the Brera, 79.
Schongauer, Madonna in Munich, 60 ; Holy Family, 121-123,
Siena, Guido da, Madonna, 38.
Signorelli, Nativity in the National Gallery, 172.
Sodoma, Madonna in the 1'rera, 104 (note).
Solario, Madonna of the Green Cushion, 146.
Lo Spagna, Madonna once attributed to, 73,
INDEX OF ARTISTS. 21J
Spanish School, Madonna in the Dresden Gallery, 89.
Tintoretto, Madonna in the Berlin Gallery, 89.
Titian, Vierge au Lapin, 115 (note), 142; Madonna of the
Cherries, 141 (note) ; Madonnas and Saints at Dresden,
141 (note) ; Madonna with Sts. Ulfo and Brigida, 142 ;
Madonna with Roses, 142 ; Madonna and Saints, 145 ;
Pesaro Madonna, 56.
Titian, School of, Madonna in Berlin, 177.
Umbrian School, Madonna by, in the National Gallery, 73-74.
Veronese, Madonna in the Venice Academy, 56.
Vinci, Leonardo da, Madonna of the Rocks, 100-104.
Vivarini, Bartolommeo, Madonnas, 178.
Vivarini, Luigi, Madonna in the Church of the Redentore,