Cento Madonna


Cento Madonna
(1591; Cento, Museo Civico)
   Ludovico Carracci rendered the Cento Madonna for the Capuchin Church of Cento, near Bologna. St. Francis, who was important to the Capuchins because the statutes of their order depend on that of the
   Franciscans, kneels at the foot of the throne occupied by the Virgin and Child. He pleads to the Virgin to view favorably the donors of the altarpiece, shown on the lower right. On the lower left is another Franciscan, possibly Brother Leo, Francis' faithful companion, while behind the throne two angels discuss the event. St. Joseph sits to the right, leaning his elbow on the throne. He is shown below the Virgin and Child to denote his lack of involvement in Christ's conception. Venetian influence on this work is clear. The elevated throne of the Virgin, the architectural elements that frame the scene, and the out-door setting, all stem from Venetian art. Yet the emotive components, the dynamic poses of the Virgin and Child, both of whom lean forward to listen to the St. Francis' plea, and the closeness of the figures to the viewer are particular to Ludovico's style. One of the most admired works by Ludovico, the Cento Madonna exerted particular influence on the art of Guercino, a native of Cento.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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