Manchester Madonna - Michelangelo Buonarroti. 105 x 76 cm
Michelangelo Buonarroti began to paint the picture in 1497, but did not finish it. The name that the author gave to his work is Madonna and Child, John the Baptist and angels. For the first time, the work was shown to the general public only in 1857 in Manchester, which is why another name for the painting was spread - the Madonna of Manchester.
Today it is believed that the author created this Madonna during the time of his first Roman period, however, for many centuries, the authorship of Michelangelo was considered doubtful. Supporters of authorship of the great master of the Renaissance pointed to a thematic roll call of the Manchester Madonna with a fresco in the church of Piero della Francesco in Arezzo. But only in 2017, thanks to the chemical analysis of the paint from the painting, scientists were able to prove the unconditional authorship of Michelangelo.
The central figure of the work is the Virgin. Her image is sculptural, her eyes are sad, her eyelids are lowered. Michelangelo exposes her breasts, indicating that she had only recently fed Jesus. In the hands of the Madonna is a book (one of the iconographic canons) and this is Isaiah, chapter 53. Our Lady knows about the sad, but great destiny of her son. Little Jesus reaches for a book, but Madonna tries not to let her reach open sheets, as if trying to protect her child.
The plot of the picture is as follows: The Virgin Mary with Jesus meets John the Baptist on the road to Egypt. It is he who we see next to the baby - the son of God. Two chubby boy peers.
On the right side are two youthful figures - these are the angels who read the scroll (Here is the Lamb of God). The scroll also informs them of the sad news of the sad future of the Son of God.
Michelangelo deliberately leaves a laconic background - a flat sky. This was to emphasize the sculptural work. Indeed, in its appearance it is very similar to the bas-relief. The drapery of clothes is especially recognizable, characteristic of the painter and sculptor, it is enough to recall his “Pietu” or “St. Paul”.
Of the innovations of Michelangelo in creating the picture - the absence of the throne of the Mother of God and the wings of the angels. Some may be surprised by the black robe of the Virgin Mary and in vain - in the final version, the Mother of God should be dressed in a richly decorated blue-azure cloak, but the author did not have time to finish it, just like the figures of two other angel heroes on the left side of the picture.