“The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth (Visiting Mary)”, Sebastiano del Piombo – description of the painting

"“The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth (Visiting Mary)”, Sebastiano del Piombo – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth (Visit of Mary) – Sebastiano del Piombo. Canvas, oil. 100 sixty eight x 100 30 two cm
In his own work, “The Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth,” the master turns to the Gospel of Luke, which describes the visit by the Virgin to her own cousin Elizabeth. During the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel told Mary that the childless old Elizabeth was expecting a baby. Mary went to a city in Judea to visit her. Hearing Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth felt the tremors of the coming John the Baptist. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, she first announced the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The painting was most likely intended for the altar. The general color of the canvas refers us to the Venetian school of painting. Sebastiano del Piombo uses colorful, rich colors. In the background we see the usual Italian landscape of the sixteenth century, reminiscent of the work of Giorgione.

It is no coincidence that the coloring of clothes for 2 ladies was chosen. The snow-white shawl on Mary’s head testifies to her integrity, the blue cloak – a sign of Heaven – is her attribute. With this cover the Mother of God protects and protects all believers. The yellowish (along with snow-white) color of the Holy Spirit. The yellowish cape on Elizabeth’s head says that the Holy Spirit came upon her at the sight of the Virgin and revealed to her the truth about her pregnancy.

In accordance with the traditions of mannerism, the composition of the work is full of drama, enhanced by the sharp contrast between light and shadow. A huge part of the picture is occupied by the figures of Mary and Elizabeth, greeting each other. The face of the Virgin is serious, it seems to reflect all future experiences and torments of the mother of the Savior. Elizabeth opens her arms, as if trying to hide from future trials. Virgin Mary is accompanied by two ladies, her relatives – Maria Kleopova and Salome. They are spectators and eyewitnesses of a significant meeting, piously frozen in prayer. In the upper right corner we see the old man Zachariah – the wife of Elizabeth. An expressive male figure (most likely this is Joseph, seeing off Mary) with an excited gesture shows him on the ladies.

The artist’s skill is such that, despite the scene’s seeming everyday life, we realize that the Sacrament is taking place — the Savior meets John the Baptist in the womb of his mother."

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