Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- The artist was born in Conegliano, near the foothills of a mountain range. He often depicted the natural beauty surrounding his hometown in the background of his paintings.
- The Venetian “Golden Age” is characterized by an exploration of oil painting (as opposed to the use of other kinds of available paint, such as tempera) and the portrayal of light and landscape in great detail. These elements are key features of Cima’s work.
- The colors of Mary’s clothing symbolize her character. The color blue represents the heavenly realm and Mary’s purity; it is also a symbol of Byzantine royalty. The color red represents Mary’s love for and devotion to her child.
The artist (whose name translates to “Cima of Conegliano”) was born in Conegliano, a thriving market town north of Venice, in the foothills of the Italian Alps. The landscape of this region frequently appears in the backgrounds of Cima’s paintings. The hill town depicted in the background of Virgin and Child in a Landscape is probably Conegliano. Cima’s family name comes from the profession of his father and grandfather. They were cimatori di panni, craftsmen employed in the trimming and finishing of woolen cloth.
Cima was part of the generation of artists who brought about the “Golden Age” of Venetian painting, which features these specific qualities: the improvement and exploration of the practice of oil painting, a remarkable sensitivity for depicting light, and a fondness for painting landscapes. All three qualities are evident in Virgin and Child in a Landscape.
tags: fashion, atmosphere, clouds
Resources for Teachers:
- Read an article about the Golden Age of Venetian painting.
- Read an article about different portrayals of Christ’s infancy in Italian painting.
- Read the artist’s biography to learn more about his life and work.
Resources for Students:
- View another painting by Cima and compare it to Virgin and Child in a Landscape.
- Read an article about the symbolism of “Madonna and Child” paintings and learn how color is used to communicate meaning.
- Explore an activity based on Virgin and Child (a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and learn how to look more closely at works of art.