The Madonna in Art eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about The Madonna in Art.

LUINI Madonna with St. Barbara and St. Anthony
                        Brera Gallery, Milan.

BOTTICELLI Madonna of the Pomegranate
                        Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

MURILLO Madonna and Child
                        Pitti Gallery, Florence.

RAPHAEL Sistine Madonna
                        Dresden Gallery.


This little book is intended as a companion volume to “Child-Life in Art,” and is a study of Madonna art as a revelation of motherhood.  With the historical and legendary incidents in the life of the Virgin it has nothing to do.  These subjects have been discussed comprehensively and finally in Mrs. Jameson’s splendid work on the “Legends of the Madonna.”  Out of the great mass of Madonna subjects are selected, here, only the idealized and devotional pictures of the Mother and Babe.  The methods of classifying such works are explained in the Introduction.

Great pains have been taken to choose as illustrations, not only the pictures which are universal favorites, but others which are less widely known and not easily accessible.

The cover was designed by Miss Isabelle A. Sinclair, in the various colors appropriate to the Virgin Mary.  The lily is the Virgin’s flower, la fleur de Marie, the highest symbol of her purity.  The gold border surrounding the panel is copied from the ornamentation of the mantle worn by Botticelli’s Dresden Madonna.


New Bedford, Mass., May, 1897.


It is now about fifteen centuries since the Madonna with her Babe was first introduced into art, and it is safe to say that, throughout all this time, the subject has been unrivalled in popularity.  It requires no very profound philosophy to discover the reason for this.  The Madonna is the universal type of motherhood, a subject which, in its very nature, appeals to all classes and conditions of people.  No one is too ignorant to understand it, and none too wise to be superior to its charm.  The little child appreciates it as readily as the old man, and both, alike, are drawn to it by an irresistible attraction.  Thus, century after century, the artist has poured out his soul in this all-prevailing theme of mother love until we have an accumulation of Madonna pictures so great that no one would dare to estimate their number.  It would seem that every conceivable type was long since exhausted; but the end is not yet.  So long as we have mothers, art will continue to produce Madonnas.

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The Madonna in Art from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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