Il Francia (Francesco Raibolini)
Madonna and Child with St. Jerome and St. Francis of Assisi

Circa 1500
Oil on panel
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California

The Christ Child's blessing gesture was a regular feature of images through the 14th century, but in the 15th many artists preferred to emphasize his identity as a human baby by having him use his hands to caress his mother or tug on her hair or clothing. In this compromise example, the child tugs at Mary's mantle with his left hand and blesses the viewer with his right. His nakedness was also a 15th-century innovation that served to make it clear that he was fully human and fully male.

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