Christ with Animula of the Virgin

Andrea Mantegna

Isola di Carturo, Padua 1430/31 – Mantua 1506


Tempera on wooden panel, 28 x 18cm

This small wooden panel came to the Pinacoteca in 1973 following the donation of the Vendeghini-Baldi Collection. Christ is portrayed surrounded by red cherubim, sitting in a mandorla of clouds with the animula of the Madonna praying in his hands. This piece was originally part of another of Mantegna’s paintings, namely the Death of the Virgin now in the Prado Museum. The arches both above and below Christ’s figure in this panel line up with the cut off pillars in the Prado painting, their juxtaposition completing the iconographic program. Once removed from its initial position (believed to be the chapel at Castel San Giorgio in Mantua) the work was clearly adapted to new environments. In 1586, it was recorded that the panel underwent a reduction by the hand of Bastianino and was moved to the Duchess’s chapel in Ferrara. The exact date of the painting’s execution is uncertain, ranging between 1460 and 1475.