Andrea Vanni
Madonna and Child with St. Luke

Tempera on wood
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

At the close of a century when Madonna and Child images had been de-emphasizing the child's divinity, Vanni restores that emphasis. Jesus is fully dressed in a garment worthy of royalty. His hair is arranged in spikes to form a sort of crown, and he holds a scroll with his words in Revelation 1:8, Ego sum alpha et o principium et finis, "I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end." As in most works of a century before, he engages the viewer's gaze and raises his hand in blessing.

Above the arch that frames the two figures are roundels picturing the Annunciation: Mary on the right and Gabriel on the left. Below Gabriel's roundel is a small figure of St. Luke holding a scroll with the angel's words, Filius altissimi vocabitur, "He will be called the son of the most high" (Luke 1:35), a phrase that further intensifies the emphasis on the child's divinity.

The Virgin Mary wears the traditional blue mantle with a star on the shoulder. Her red robe, also traditional is just barely visible below the golden collar. She too engages the viewer's gaze.

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Photographed at the Uffizi by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.