Madonna Adoring the Christ Child
Italian, ca. 1420–1470
A tender and human Madonna is seen here in adoration of her sleeping child. John the Baptist kneels with his prophetic reed cross and looks up toward the coming of the Lord, who showers the Christ child with divine light. This work clearly resembles Fra Filippo Lippi’s Virgin Adoring the Child, but Giovanni has taken the figures out of Lippi’s grotto and placed them in a naturalistic, open landscape. There are attempts at both linear and atmospheric perspective, and gold is no longer used as the background color, breaking with the previous Gothic or Byzantine tradition.