Virgin Mary reading to the Infant Christ (recto)
Late 1480s - early 1490s
Vittore Carpaccio (1455/56-1525/26)
Pen and dark brown ink over red chalk, on laid paper
Width: 9.4 cm; Height: 12.8 cm;
Pen and ink, lower left & recto, overpainted
with white bodycolour (partially scraped out) over
indecipherable inscription, ozzo
Pen and ink, lower centre & verso, (indecipherable inscription)
Acquisition (source, method, date)
Seilern, Antoine (Count); bequest; 1978
About this work
Perched on a window ledge, a mother turns from her book to look at her son. Only the haloes and the crown held by the toddler indicate that this is Mary and the infant Christ. The mood is domestic and almost impromptu, as if the sitters have been captured unawares. Representations of the Virgin and Child were among the stock-in-trade of every Renaissance artist. The back of this sheet holds another study of this subject by the Venetian painter Carpaccio.
The construction and technique of this drawing is typical of Carpaccio. He often laid-in the rudiments of his drawings with red chalk and then built up the composition with pen and ink. However, here the chalk also contributes to the final effect, working in combination with the ink to create the strong sense of shape and shadow on the Virgin’s robe and headdress.
(Permanent collection label)
This work is not on display
While we make every effort to ensure this information
is correct, displays are subject to last-minute changes.
Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London