Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist


Bacchiacca ( Italian, 1494 - 1557 )

c. 1525
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General Description

The Florentine artist Francesco d'Ubertino Verdi, better known by his nickname Bacchiacca, trained with Perugino and worked for the Medici court. Although born the same year as the great mannerist artists Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino, Bacchiacca was a more classical painter and limited his mannerist tendencies to an exaggerated elegance of line and intensity of color. Both qualities are evident in this small painting of the Madonna with the infant Christ and young John the Baptist. Bacchiacca presents the figures in profile, emphasizing their sinuous sihouettes. The Madonna is dressed in multicolored robes and adorned with gold brooches on her breast and in her elaborate turban. The goldfinch drinking from a crystal cup at left is a symbolic reference to events of the Passion, foreshadowing the future sacrifice of the infant Christ. Bacchiacca was much appreciated by his contemporaries for his sensitive and naturalistic depictions of birds and animals.

Excerpt from

Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Madonna and Child with St. John," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 148.

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