Madonna della melagrana (1475-1480)

Lorenzo di Credi (c.1459-1537)

Madonna della melagrana (Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate)
Oil on poplar panel, 16.5 x 13.4 cm
National Gallery of ArtWashington

Shown from about the waist up, a woman stands on the far side of a stone ledge, supporting a nude baby boy on the sill in front of her with two more windows opening to distant landscapes behind them in this vertical painting. The bottom and side edges of the stone opening run close to and parallel to the bottom and side edges of the composition. The woman and the baby have pale skin with a yellowish cast, and both have faint gold halos. The woman’s body is angled slightly to our left, and her head tilts to our right as she looks down toward the baby with pale brown eyes. She has a straight nose, smooth cheeks, and her pale, heart-shaped lips are closed. Her blond, curly hair is parted down the middle and hangs to her sloping shoulders. Her mauve-pink dress is gathered at her breast with a midnight-blue jewel, and a lapis-blue cloak with kelly-green lining drapes over her shoulders and across the stone ledge in front of her. Barely noticeable against the deep pink dress, she holds an open pomegranate with ruby-red seeds in her left hand, to our right. With her other hand, she supports the baby behind his legs and backside. His nude, pudgy body is angled to our right as he tilts his head back to look up at the woman with light brown eyes. He has short blond hair and a rounded nose, full cheeks, and his lips are slightly downturned. With his right hand, closer to us, he holds a few pomegranate seeds up near the woman’s face. His other hand rests on the fruit by the woman’s torso. The child stands with one foot in front of the other on the cloak draped over the gray stone sill. Two rectangular windows pierce the back wall of the shallow, shadowed room behind the pair, with one over each of the woman’s shoulders. Grassy fields are dotted with trees, flowers, and bushes, and lead back to powder-blue hills in the deep distance. The light blue sky fades to pale yellow along the horizon. (NGA)