The Virgin and the Cradle

Accession Number

The Virgin and the Cradle

Marcantonio Raimondi

Artist Nationality
Italian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1520

Medium & Support
engraving on medium-weight, slightly textured, off-white laid paper

9 7/8 x 7 1/16 in. (25 x 17.9 cm);19 7/16 x 14 5/16 in. (49.23 x 36.2 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Fall 2013
Marcantonio Raimondi
Italy, circa 1475–before 1534
The Virgin at the Cradle (after Raphael)
circa 1520
Engraving on medium-weight, slightly textured, off-white laid paper
Museum purchase, 1995/1.81
Although not a reproduction of a particular work of art, Raimondi’s engraving is based on the work of other artists. The central group, for example, is dominated by a large figure of Saint Anne standing behind the seated Virgin Mary, who lowers her gaze towards the playful Christ child in her lap. This composition recalls works by Raimondi’s contemporaries Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) and Raphael (1483–1520) in which a pyramidal arrangement of figures gives them a monumental presence. The woman leaning over the cradle to the left of the central group is Saint Elizabeth. On the right, a winged putto stands behind a water basin holding an ewer. The domestic setting is demarcated by suggestions of architecture, furnishings, a fireplace, and a heavy curtain that appears in a few other religious compositions by the artist.

Subject matter
Marcantonio Raimondi has long been associated with the Roman works of Raphael and Marcantonio's engravings are often more than mere transcription of Raphael's works. The classical balance and monumentality of this work suggest that this engraving is derived from a design by Raphael. The Virgin and Child with the standing figure behind may also be a reference to Leonardo's "Virgin and St. Anne".

Physical Description
This sober, pyramidal composition consists of five figures within an interior. A seated woman and child occupy the center of the composition while flanking her to the left is a kneeling older woman with her left hand on the child her right hand on the cradle. To the right of the seated woman is a putti holding a ewer and standing next to a basin. Standing behind the seated woman is a standing woman with hands raised. All of the women are dressed in generalized classical drapery.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Collection Area

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figures (illustrations)
religious (people)

& Author Notes

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