The Virgin Nursing the Christ Child (Virgin and Child with an Angel)
Old Master Paintings
|Medium, technique||oil on canvas|
131 × 103 cm
|Collection||Old Master Paintings|
|On view||Museum of Fine Arts, Second Floor, European Art 1700-1850, Gallery XXIX|
The model for Angelika Kauffmann’s painting is presumably a princess Esterházy, appearing in the painting as Venus. The portrait disguised as a mythological picture, or ‘portrait historie’, was a popular genre from the 17th century onwards. Here, the soft, smooth surfaces, the lush colours and the lightness of the painting evoke the spirit of the Rococo period, but the costume, the hairstyle and the graceful movement of the model – inspired by the ancient statue known as Aphrodite of Kallipygos, or Venus the Fair Bottom – are already evidence of the rise of Classicism. The painting is an excellent reflection of the painter’s exceptional sense of the genre, the freshness of his vision and his susceptibility to capturing all that is noble, refined and elegant.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.