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Virgin and Child with Saints Elizabeth, Lucy, the Child Baptist, Peter and Catherine

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Virgin and Child with Saints Elizabeth, Lucy, the Child Baptist, Peter and Catherine

Artist: Bonifacio de' Pitati and Workshop (Italian, 1487–1553)
Culture: Italian
Date: c. 1545
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
44 x 68 inches (111.8 x 172.7 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Anonymous gift
Label Text:This image depicts a sacra conversazione, or holy conversation, a painting type popular in Italy during the 1400s and 1500s that portrays the Virgin and Child flanked on either side by saints. While the saints vary from painting to painting, they are generally shown holding their identifying attributes. In this painting we find, from left to right: Saint Elizabeth with a book; Saint Lucy with her eyes in a dish; a young Saint John the Baptist embracing the Christ child, seated on the lap of the Virgin Mary; Saint Peter with keys; and Saint Catherine with a broken wheel. As is typical of sacra conversazione paintings, the figures share expressions conveying awe, reverence, and peaceful contemplation. Their “conversation” is spiritual, and one in which the viewer is invited to participate. The figures’ soft, warmly colored garments, their open arrangement and balanced placement within the space, and the serene landscape in the background all contribute to a calm, welcoming atmosphere conducive to personal meditation on Christ, placed in the center of the canvas. As the saints depicted here did not all live at the same time or in the same place, the painting offers a spiritual experience across temporal and geographical boundaries.
Provenance: Capello Collection, Venice; purchased through (William Buchanan) by Sir George Lindsay Holford; purchased July 15, 1927 through (Christie, Manson & Woods) by anonymous family; by inheritance through family; anonymous gift 1991 to Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, formerly Duke University Museum of Art.
Object number: 1991.7.1
In Collection(s)