Continuing our series featuring the convex mirror in art, we delve back in time to 15th century Italy.
One of our favourite examples of the convex mirror in renaissance art is The Madonna of the Magnificat. Painted by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, dated to 1481-1485.
This famous tondo, in which the figures appear as if reflected in a convex mirror, can be seen in the Gallery Uffizi in Florence, Italy. In case you were wondering, a tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art, either a painting or a sculpture. The word derives from the Italian for round: ‘rotondo’.
Composition in a tondo is difficult but Botticelli manages this by placing the figures symmetrically to the outer borders and creating a far and wide reaching landscape in the central portion. Curved lines, fullness of faces and lips, and flowing curls add further to the organic, round form of the tondo.
The work portrays the Virgin Mary crowned by two angels, and takes its title from the beginning of the Virgin’s prayer, the Magnificat, which she is writing on the right-hand page of the open book (shown below).
Mary and the baby Jesus are holding a pomegranate, whose ruby red pips symbolise the Passion of Christ.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
What makes this painting extra special is Boticelli’s use of rich, bright colours – reds, blues, yellows and golds. And it’s even more vibrant in the flesh!
There are several copies of the painting, including one in the Louvre and one in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. If you are able to visit the Gallery Uffizi to view the original, you will be well rewarded as the Uffizi houses the foremost collection of Botticelli in the world!