Virgin and Child with Saints Francis and Lucy
ALLORI del Bronzino, Alessandro (1535 - 1607)
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 258.4 x 167.5 cm
Acquired: 1970; Purchase; with assistance of the Art Fund
Accession Number: NMW A 3
Allori was born and trained in Florence. This altarpiece was commissioned by Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici as a gift for the new villa of Felice Peretti, Cardinal Montalto, elected Pope Sixtus V in 1585. The Latin inscription on the step beneath the Virgin's bed may be translated: 'Painted by Alessandro Allori, citizen of Florence, pupil of Agnolo Bronzino 1583'. The Christ Child raises his arm in blessing, attended by two angels bearing honey and butter, an allusion to the prophecy of Isaiah. At his feet, kneeling as if before an altar, are St Francis and St Lucy. Both had a special significance for Cardinal Montralto, a member of the Franciscan order, born on St Lucy's feast day December 13. The latter holds a bowl with her dowry money which she gave to the poor and a yoke from the oxen meant to drag her to execution. The sword with which she was executed lies at her feet.