Madonna Adoring the Christ Child, 1480s

Not on Viewexpand_more

The Virgin Mary is depicted in solemn prayer, looking down at her infant son. The Christ Child prostrate position on a parapet in the foreground is a reminder of his future martyrdom.

This painting copies a work by the Venetian painter Lazzaro Bastiani that is now in the Poznan National Museum, Poland, although a simpler landscape background has been substituted in the Minneapolis panel for scenes from the life of Tobias which appeared in the background of the original. There are at least three copies of Bastiani's painting known, perhaps by different hands, but all with the same background that appears here (Minneapolis Institute of Art and two works formerly in the New York collections of Paul Dray and Edgar Speyer). So exacting are the replicas, in both the details of the holy figures and setting, that it seems likely that the copyists were members of Bastiani's workshop or circle, and had access to a full-scale cartoon to replicate the master's painting. Pounce marks (or "spolveri") which were used to transfer a design from a cartoon to a painting's surface, can be detected, in fact, in the outline of the Virgin Mary's fingers and Christ Child's legs and toes.

We are grateful to the scholar Nicole De Manincor for claryifying the versions and history of this picture.

Madonna Adoring the Christ Child
Artist Life
Italian (Venice), active 1449 - 1512
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.