Vittore Carpaccio

pen and ink drawing of seated religious figures seen from behind, one with book

Vittore Carpaccio (1460/66–1525/26)
The Virgin Reading to the Infant Christ
late 1480s–early 1490s
Pen and dark brown ink over red chalk
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Princes Gate Bequest, 1978

Perched on a window ledge, a mother turns from her book to look at her son. Only the haloes and the crown held by the toddler indicate that this is Mary and the infant Christ. The mood is domestic and almost impromptu, as if the sitters have been captured unawares. The back of this sheet (at right) holds another study by the Venetian painter of the Virgin with the Christ Child and Saint John.

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