Category: Abbie Whalin

Madonna of the Rose Garden

Title: Madonna of the Rose Garden

Date: ca. 1470-75

Location of the work: The Louvre, Paris, France

Medium: Tempera on Panel

Approximate dimensions of work: 93 x 69 cm

This painting was painted by Sandro Botticelli around the middle of the 15th century. Botticelli was an early Renaissance artist who later became known for his depictions of religious and mythological scenes, particularly scenes of the Madonna. This particular work predates two of his most famous paintings, La Primavera and The Birth of Venus. Madonna of the Rose Garden is said to be one of the most moving depictions of the Madonna done by Botiticelli. However it is said that Saint John has been painted with an inferior quality, which was mostly likely due to Botticelli using a different master painter to complete this work. In this painting Botticelli uses the white roses seen behind Mary to symbolize her virginity and purity, and it is said that the red roses resemble beauty and love. The expressions of each character are directed differently in this painting, with Mary seen in what looks like contentment with her eyes closed and her hand holding baby Jesus. The baby Jesus is depicted much like a regular baby, with his loving gaze fixed on his mother’s face, seemingly unaware of the audience of the painting. John the Baptist, on the other hand is gazing out boldly into the audience, challenging the viewer and reminding us of what’s to come.


La Primavera

The Birth of Venus


Madonna and Child with Saint Anne

Title: Madonna and Child with Saint Anne

Date: 1605

Location of the work: The Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Approximate dimensions of work: 115 in x 83 in

This is an allegorical work done by Baroque artist Caravaggio painted for an alter of the papal grooms. In this painting we see Mary, with the help of Jesus, crushing the head of the serpent, which symbolizes evil and original sin, while Sainte Anne watches lovingly. We are reminded of the prophecy found in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

This painting was seen as somewhat shocking during its time, due to Sainte Anne’s unflattering wrinkled appearance, Mary’s revealing bodice, and Jesus appearing as a fully naked uncircumcised child. However this picture is very powerful because Caravaggio uses an everyday scene, in which all of these characters look like they belong in the Baroque era. The only distinguishing features are the thin halos above Mary and Saint Anne’s heads. This scene allows you to place yourself in this common scene, and yet it is one with so much Spiritual meaning. Caravaggio uses a large amount of light on the characters and little background scenery to assure that our attention is on the three figures and the action taking place in this painting.


Mary Enthroned Holding a Flowered Scepter

Title: Mary Enthroned Holding a Flowered Scepter

Date: 1887

Location of the work: Above the central portal of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy

Medium: Sculpture done in half relief

Approximate dimensions of work: Approximately 9ft

The Florence Cathedral is the result of 170 years of work.  It was said to be, “”a structure so immense, so steeply rising toward the sky, that it covers all Tuscans with its shadow”. The last part to be completed was the façade, which was done in a neo-gothic style. This cathedral was dedicated to the Madonna and given the title “Saint Mary of the Flower”, honoring the Mother of Christ, which is apparent from this central statue done by Tito Sarrocchi. This statue is located above the central portal of the cathedral, where it is a central focus. The sculpture depicts Mary holding an infant Jesus with her left arm, and a flowered scepter in her right. This flowered scepter is said to be a symbol of both the city of Florence as well as a symbol of Christ.

Santa Maria del Fiore


Adoration of the Maggi

Title: Adoration of the Maggi

Date: circa 1475-1480

Location of the work: Ufffizi Gallary Florence, Italy

Medium: Tempera on panel

Approximate dimensions of work: 43 3/4” x 52 ¾”

This painting by Sandro Botticelli was originally painted for the Lama family chapel in S. Maria Nuova, and was commissioned by Pier il Gottoso de Medici. This painting is especially interesting because the main focus is not necessarily on the Madonna and child being pictured. Rather those viewing this painting during this time would have recognized the figures of Cosimo the Elder, Piero the Gouty, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Polition and Pico della Mirandola featured as the adoring Maggi. By placing these prominent societal figures in the painting, the focus is placed more on the brotherhood of these characters, rather than on the well known story of the birth of Jesus. These brotherhoods were a significant part of life in Florence since the Middle Ages, and it is celebrated here by Botticelli in these recognizable figures.


“Uffizi Florence-Great Museums of the Word”

Madonna Del Sasso

Title: Madonna del Sasso (Madonna of the Rock)

Date: Commissioned by Raphael and made by Lorenzetto Lotti in 1524

Location of the work: Pantheon, Rome, Italy. Above the Tomb of Raphael.

Medium: Sculpture in bronze

Approximate dimensions of work: 2.77 meters tall (Approximately 9 ft.)

This sculpture was commissioned by Raphael to stand above his sarcophagus in the Pantheon. A student of Raphael’s, Lorenzo Lotti, who is also known as Lorenzetto, completed this sculpture. Lorenzetto was an Italian Renaissance sculpture and architect. He created this sculpture as a close replica of Venus Felix in the Vatican Museum, and modeled the clothes after a version of the Aphrodite of Melos. The head of the Madonna is said to bear the features of the ideal ancient female portrait, and the Christ child is individualized as little as possible (16th Century Italian Art).  “Lorenzetto’s artistic pioneering results in a quite personal accomplishment, that of keeping the ancient sculpture of a goddess visible in the image of the Mother of God”


16th century Italian Art By Michael Wayne Cole,_Rome

Aphrodite of Melos

Venus Felix