Artist: Ludovico Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna)
Medium: Oil on copper
Dimensions: 11 3/4 x 9 7/8 in. (29.8 x 25.1 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, 2007
Accession Number: 2007.330
This exquisite picture was painted for Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani (1554–1621), when papal legate to Bologna. It is a paradigm of Ludovico’s mature style—so different from his early experiments in a naturalistic style. The pose of the Madonna evokes Michelangelo’s sibyls in the Sistine Chapel, while the emphasis on elegance echoes the work of Parmigianino. The stalks of wheat held by the Christ Child are emblems of the Eucharist. The saints are: Bernard, Peter (with the keys to heaven), Andrew (with a cross), Paul (holding a sword), Catherine of Alexandria (with a broken wheel), and an unidentified virgin saint.