Madonna del Popolo


Madonna del Popolo
(1575-1579; Florence, Uffizi)
   Painted by Federico Barocci for the Confraternity of the Misericordia in Arezzo, the work shows the people of Arezzo below an apparition of the Virgin who intercedes on their behalf. Some of the figures point to the vision, while others go about their daily routines without noticing the event. A woman returns from the market with a child in her arms; a beggar lies on the ground while a man offers him alms. The Virgin seems to be asking her son to illuminate those who are blind to the true faith and, in response, he sends the Holy Spirit so they may be saved. Barocci enhanced the figures' appeal by adding touches of pink throughout the pictorial surface, common to his art. This work represents the artist's early Mannerist phase. Consequently, the composition is oval with a void in the center and a large number of figures populating the picture, most in contorted poses. Barocci would eventually shed the Mannerist style in favor of greater clarity and deeper emotional content in response to the demands of the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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