Pinacoteca di Brera Informazioni

Madonna of the Milk

Luca Signorelli

The picture is one the two sides of the processional standard executed for the confraternity of the Raccomandati at Santa Maria del Mercato in Fabriano, which arrived in Brera, already separated, after the Napoleonic abolitions in 1811. The iconographic choices reflect precise instructions from the clients, who carried out charitable activities on the behalf of abandoned children – whence the image of the Madonna del Latte, i.e. The Virgin nursing the Child – and who practiced such forms of penitence as flogging themselves in public.

A pupil of Piero della Francesca, Signorelli has set the Flagellation in a space constructed according to the rules of perspective, laid out around the fulcrum of symmetry provided by the column and enclosed at the back by a splendid work of classical architecture. However, perfectly abreast of the innovations in the Florentine painting of the late 15th century and the solutions of Pollaiuolo and Botticelli, he shapes his figures and decorative details with a vibrant and nervous line, impressing on the composition a sense of animated dynamism that is wholly extraneous to Piero’s language. The work is dated to the period prior to the artist’s journey to Rome in 1482, probably sometime around 1475.

Download hi-res image TITLE Madonna of the Milk
AUTHOR Luca Signorelli
DATE 1480-1483 circa
OBJECT TYPE AND MATERIAL Tempera on panel
DIMENSIONS cm 84 × 60
INVENTORY 347
ROOM V
Work on display
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