Bernardino Luini

The Christ Child and the Infant John the Baptist with a Lamb

1520s
Scenes showing the infants Jesus and John together first became popular in fifteenth-century Tuscany. The subject was given new life in the century to follow thanks to a work by Leonardo da Vinci, since lost, which showed the two children embracing. Luini, inspired by this, chose to show them together with a lamb, a reference to Jesus’ sacrifice and death. The naturalism of the scene offsets the weighty meaning – these are not symbols, but two young boys at play.
Title
The Christ Child and the Infant John the Baptist with a Lamb
Date
1520s
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on wood, transferred to canvas
Dimensions
75.8 x 57.5 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1927
Accession number
3454