Art Review – The Virgin and Child with Four Angels

“The Virgin and Child with Four Angels” was painted by Gerard David in about 1510, right in the middle of the Renaissance. The painting is rectangular in shape and appears to be about two feet long by maybe a foot and a half wide. It is oil painted on wood and it looks to be in very good condition. The painting is an image, as its title suggests, of the Virgin with the infant baby Jesus. This, of course, was a very common subject during the renaissance and for years before and after it. There are countless paintings of the Virgin and Child from that time period, probably because of the power and influence of the church at the time. People were much more involved in the church and, therefore, the subjects they painted or requested to be painted were typically religious themes. Many also felt that by commemorating such religious figures it might even help them gain a spot in heaven. In any case, in this particular version of the Virgin and Child there are also four angels in the scene – two who are flying above the Virgin holding a crown over her head, and two who are sitting on either side of her playing instruments.
Beyond her there is a large archway that opens into a landscape with a view of some grass and trees, some architecture, and some mountains in the far distance. The virgin is wearing a red garb and the baby Jesus is barely draped in some white cloth. That, of course, is a basic description at a quick glance. In examining the painting further, it becomes obvious that this is prime example of Renaissance painting. To begin with, the composition is completely balanced, almost symmetrical. The four angels are placed evenly around the Virgin, with two on each side. On one side an angel plays a harp and is balanced by an angel on the other side, strumming some type of guitar. The two flying above Mary are basically in the same position. Even the church in the background seems to be matched with a mountain in the distance. The co…