Feb 20, 2007

Virgin and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Virgin and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint Catherine of Alexandria

c. 1450

Tempera and gold on wood panel

Framed: 68.5 x 47.5 x 5 cm (26 15/16 x 18 11/16 x 1 15/16 in.); Unframed: 59.7 x 39 cm (23 1/2 x 15 3/8 in.)

The Fanny Tewksbury King Collection 1956.719

Did you know?

The figure to the right of the Christ child is Saint Jerome, identifiable by the rock he holds to his chest.


In his right hand, the Christ child grasps a stem of roses. The beauty and fragrance of roses symbolize heaven, while their thorny stems allude to the crown of thorns and Christ's suffering. The bird he holds in his left hand symbolizes the human soul. The elaborate haloes with Latin inscriptions identify the figures and help organize the composition. The names of Christ, Saint Jerome, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria appear in abbreviated form. The Madonna's halo proclaims her worthiness to bear the Son of God: "Hail, full of grace," while the inscription at the top is one of her most popular titles: "Merciful Mother."

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