Description of the picture:
Madonna and Book – Botticelli. 1480s Wood, tempera. 58×39.5
Before us is a picture of the great Botticelli, full of symbolic images. She is also sometimes called the “Madonna, teaching the reading of the baby of Christ.”
The book lying on the table is called the “Hourly Book of Mary” – a symbol of church wisdom of that time. The nails in the left hand of the baby Jesus and the crown of thorns on his wrist inexorably testify to the impending suffering with which He will atone for the sins of mankind. With his right hand folded in a famous gesture, he blesses the book. The Divine Infant gently touches his Mother and, turning around, admires her with admiration.
For some reason, Botticelli introduces an element of instability into the picture – the Madonna either half-sits or rises, from this pose of the baby Jesus seems uncomfortable.
The Madonna is immersed in quiet sadness, she humbly awaits the destiny God intended for her. The drawing on the cape of the Holy Virgin, in the form of inverted flames of fire emanating from the Sun, acts as a symbol of future suffering and death on the cross of her Son – the Savior. The garden fruits on the table figuratively indicate the Kingdom of God open to people by Christ. The general composition of this late painting by the artist is simple and concise, and recalls the early period of his work. The master left us this riddle unanswered, it remains to be solved …