Tondo (round painting) featuring the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist praying over the Christ Child set against a landscape.
This type of round painting, known as a tondo, was popular in Florence, Italy between the 15th and 16th centuries. Intended for private devotion in the home, these paintings often depicted scenes from the life of the Virgin and carried connotations of fertility and familial ties.
Such paintings often were the result of workshop collaborations. Lorenzo di Credi had recently taken over the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, with whom he and other artists such as Leonardo da Vinci had trained. This tondo resembles many others from this workshop, perhaps indicating the use of a master drawing to create several versions of the same composition.
Although the patron is unknown, several clues in the painting indicate it may have belonged to Benedetto Portinari. This head of the Medici bank in Bruges had a personal insignia that included a young oak tree and an oak stump, as seen here. His presence in Bruges may also explain the northern landscape in the background.
religion; devotion; mother and child; landscapes; fertility; domestic space
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