Bernardino Luini

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

c. 1507-1532
Scenes showing the infants Jesus and John together first became popular in fifteenth-century Tuscany, part of a growing concern for childhood. The subject was given new life in the century to follow thanks to a now lost work by Leonardo, which showed the two children embracing. Luini, inspired by Leonardo's example, chose to show them together with a lamb, symbol of 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
c. 1507-1532
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