View full screen - View 1 of Lot 659. An Icon of the Virgin and Child, Veneto-Cretan, first half of the 16th century.
659

An Icon of the Virgin and Child, Veneto-Cretan, first half of the 16th century

VAT reduced rate

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 GBP

An Icon of the Virgin and Child, Veneto-Cretan, first half of the 16th century

An Icon of the Virgin and Child, Veneto-Cretan, first half of the 16th century

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 GBP

Lot sold:

20,160

GBP

An Icon of the Virgin and Child, Veneto-Cretan, first half of the 16th century


gold ground, the Virgin presents a piece of fruit with her left hand, Christ is seated on her lap, the mantle bordered with pseudo-Kufic motifs in gold and decorated with beautiful gold ‘embroidery’ on the forehead and shoulders, Christ holding an open scroll with a text in Greek

54 by 42.5cm; 21¼by 16¾in.

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Private collection, France

In this panel, the painter stresses the human character of Christ who lovingly looks up at his mother, while carefully placing his hand on the fruit. The Virgin covers her son’s shoulders with part of her purple mantle (maphorion), thereby enhancing the intimate relationship between mother and child.


The piece of fruit in our icon probably evolved from the imperial orb. Christ carrying the orb often appears in icons of the Madonna della Consolazione. The fruit could refer to the carnation of God as the fruit coming from the loins of the Virgin or may be interpreted as a juxtaposed allusion to the Fall of Man and Redemption. The former commenced when Eve handed the apple from the Tree of Knowledge to Adam that led to their Expulsion from Paradise. Mary giving the fruit to Christ can thereby be paralleled to Eve giving the apple to Adam. The Birth of Christ made amends for Original Sin and therefore Christ can be seen as the New Adam.