Domenico Beccafumi (Montaperti 1486- Siena 1551)
Virgin with the Child and infant Saint John the Baptist

1540-1545 circa

Olio on wood

cm 90 x 65

Palazzo Barberini

Inv: Inv. 2410

The panel depicts the Virgin Mary about to breastfeed the Child. He lays calmly on her lap while an infant Saint John the Baptist peeps out on her right. The small size of the painting suggests that it was intended for a context of private devotion. Several features, such as the voluptuous child’s muscles and the faded contours, reflect the influence that Masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci exerted on Beccafumi’s style.
The painting, acquired by the Italian State in 1959, is one of the few masterpieces from the original collection of the Barberini family that still remains housed in the palace.