National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate Lorenzo di Credi (painter)
Florentine, c. 1457/1459 - 1536
Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate, 1475/1480
oil on poplar panel
overall: 16.5 x 13.4 cm (6 1/2 x 5 1/4 in.) framed: 44.1 x 24.5 x 3.8 cm (17 3/8 x 9 5/8 x 1 1/2 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Not on View
From the Tour: Patrons and Artists in Late 15th-Century Florence
Object 5 of 8

The workshop of a Renaissance artist was both studio and school, where apprentices were trained to paint in the style of the master. Since large commissions required the efforts of many painters, backgrounds, still-life details, and secondary figures were often painted by assistants. A master might also give lesser commissions entirely over to his assistants, simply approving the work as meeting his standard. It is often difficult to distinguish the work of the master from that of talented assistants whose individual styles were not yet fully developed.

This small devotional panel is painted in the style of Andrea del Verrocchio but is the work of one of his students, Lorenzo di Credi, who inherited the workshop when Andrea died. For inspiration Credi seems also to have looked to a fellow student—Leonardo da Vinci. This madonna is modeled after one by Leonardo; in fact, the painting was once thought to be an early work by Leonardo. But the colors differ from Leonardo’s subdued palette, and the landscape lacks his fanciful mountains. Notice, too, the Virgin's left hand, which holds a pomegranate, symbol of the Resurrection. In Leonardo's painting she holds a carnation. Credi failed to alter the position of her fingers, leaving her with an unnatural gesture unthinkable from such a keen observer of nature as Leonardo.

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