Virgin and Child
Pietro Bonaccorsi, known as Perin del Vaga (Florence 1501 - Rome 1547)
Set against a dark background that highlights her as if she were a statue, the tender young Virgin is holding her Son, who is carrying out blessings while standing on the balustrade. Both subjects are looking straight out at the spectator, directly engaging him with the holy vision. The figures are depicted with painstaking attention to the precious detailing on the clothing, such as the transparent veil on Christ’s chest and the pearl and stone pin on the Virgin’s head. Perin del Vaga used this model in many paintings of the same subjects, often portrayed with St Joseph (Holy Family, Vaduz, Liechtenstein coll.; Holy Family, Chantilly, Condé Museum; Holy Family, Pisa Museum of San Matteo). This sophisticated interpretation of Raphael's prototypes, together with the elegant resolution of the composition, make this a prime example of Perino’s work from the mid-1530s. In this period, the artist - who had trained in Raphael’s studio at the time of the works in the Vatican Loggias and the preparatory sketches for the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel and the loggias at Villa Farnesina - was a prominent figure on the Roman scene, developing the foundations that had been laid by the Tusco-Roman figurative culture in the early 16th century.