Lucas Cranach the Elder
Madonna of the Grapes

Circa 1537
Oil on panel, 22.5 x 13.6 in. (57.1 x 34.6 cm.)
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Grapes were common in classical images of children, identifying a small figure as indeed a child and also expressing affection. The Renaissance revived this iconography, but with reference to the wine of the Eucharist and thus also to the blood shed on the Cross.

The single grape in the baby's hand recalls the blessing gesture often seen in images of Christ, reminds the viewer of the sacrifice that bought that blessing, and with the expression on the child's face constitutes an invitation to share in that sacrifice.

More of The Madonna and Child

Source: Wikimedia Commons