Ap­pre­ci­at­ing art

The Vir­gin and Child with a Saint, by Bar­tolomeo Mon­tagna, at the Walker Art Gallery Cheshire Life: De­cem­ber 2018

Cheshire Life - - Arts & Events -

Com­pleted over half a mil­len­nia ago, the sub­ject of this charm­ing panel paint­ing still res­onates with au­di­ences to­day. At its heart is the sub­ject of moth­erly love. The Vir­gin Mary ten­derly holds the baby Je­sus, pre­sent­ing him to, whilst also guard­ingly pro­tect­ing him, from the mys­te­ri­ous bearded man who kneels in rev­er­ence. His iden­tity re­mains un­known. It has been pro­posed that he is John the Bap­tist but rep­re­sent­ing him as an adult next to the baby Je­sus would be un­usual – more of­ten when they are por­trayed to­gether they are shown as be­ing of the same age. Ar­guably the man might have been a wealthy donor to the chapel for which this work would have been orig­i­nally com­mis­sioned or a pa­tron of the artist. Peo­ple of sta­tus and power liked to im­mor­talise them­selves in art­works and also to el­e­vate their sta­tus by show­ing them­selves to be closer to God. In­trigu­ingly the pres­ence of the halo on his head sug­gests that he is no mere mor­tal and so the de­bate rages on.

De­spite this work’s mod­est di­men­sions, be­ing only lit­tle more than the size of a vinyl al­bum, the artist has in­cluded many fine ex­am­ples of his skill. The land­scape to the left and the van­ish­ing point on the hori­zon shows the artist’s aware­ness and mastery of per­spec­tive, a con­cept which we now take for granted but which was still very much a mod­ern con­struct when this paint­ing was cre­ated. Many con­tem­po­rary paint­ings would still be de­pict­ing the fig­ures as flat and two di­men­sional as seen in pre-re­nais­sance me­dieval and Byzan­tium art. The Vir­gin Mary’s blue robes and white un­der­gar­ments are used by the artist to show the play of light and shadow upon the folds of cloth.

Bar­tolomeo Mon­tagna is a noted pain­ter of the Ital­ian Re­nais­sance who, it is be­lieved, trained in the stu­dio of the great mas­ter Gio­vanni Bellini. He was known for his de­pic­tions of the Madonna, many of which hang in pres­ti­gious gal­leries around the world.

“The Vir­gin Mary’s blue robes and white un­der­gar­ments are used by the artist to show the play of light and shadow upon the folds of cloth”

8TH- JAN­UARY 13TH

PETER PAN There’s an all-star cast in this swash­buck­ling pan­tomime.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.