Carlo Crivelli: Madonna and Child (1480)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

A painting by the Italian artist Carlo Crivelli (1430-1495). This piece, perhaps an altarpiece, shows the virgin Mary and the child Christ in a fantasy landscape with 4 men wearing a turban. Mary is dressed in beautiful clothes, a decorated halo, an pearl chain, transparent veil and is holding the Christ child who is holding a goldvinch. At the top of the painting are apples and a cucumber shown. There is some discussion what both pieces of fruit stand for. According to some the apples stand here for evil and the cucumber of redemption. According to others the apples stand here for wisdom and the cucumber a symbol of perdition. The goldvinch is a symbol for the resurrection. Notice also the fly in the left lower corner - this is a trompe-l’oeil, an optical illusion which the artist used to call attention to his skills. The small scroll at the bottom is the signature of Carlo Crivelli. Painting from 1480.