Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist

Accession Number

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist

Raphael Sadeler I

Artist Nationality
Flemish (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
After 1591

Medium & Support
engraving on laid paper

3 1/4 in x 2 1/8 in (8.25 cm x 5.4 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Professor Walter M. and Nesta R. Spink

Label copy
Raphael Sadeler I
Netherlands (Flanders), 1560/61–1628 or 1632
Madonna and Child
Late 16th to early 17th century
Engraving on laid paper
Gift of Professor Walter M. and Nesta R. Spink, 2012/2.208

Subject matter
Mannerist and baroque printmakers frequently imitated other artist's works and circulated the images as part of a larger network of artistic exchange.  This small engraving by Raphael Sadeler I appears to be a copy (though not exact) in reverse of Jan Sadeler I's engraving of the same subject (dated 1591), after another artist.  Both Raphael and Jan were members of the Sadeler family of printmakers, which included Aegidius Sadeler II, the imperial engraver to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.  This print depicts the Virgin Mary seated under a canopy of drapery and holding the infant Jesus. At her feet is a young John the Baptist, identified by his camel skin robe, who offers Christ a tray of grapes.  Jesus reaches out toward the fruit, which bears Eucharistic undertones; his action is symbolic and foreshadows the sacrifice the will make for humankind's salvation.  The image is made more potent with Christ's gaze out toward the viewer, which imparts a sense of intimacy that was meant to aid in religious devotion.  The grouping of Christ and John, who are cousins, with Mary, reinforces divine familial bonds, while also reminding the viewer of the salvific, redemptive message of Jesus' Passion.  A latin inscription below reinforces Christ's acceptance of his fate.

Physical Description
A seated woman holds a baby, who reaches out toward a tray of grapes offered by a standing toddler.  The figures are situated under a curtain of drapery.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Christ Child
devotional images (religious works)
draperies (curtains)
engravings (prints)
families (kinship groups)
grape (berry fruit)

1 Related Resource

Lives of Christian Saints
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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