Detail of the work

Berruguete’s painting depicts the Virgin inside an open architectural structure. Enthroned and crowned as Queen of the Heavens, she offers her breast to the Christ Child. Based on a model by Rogier van der Weyden and influenced by Van Eyck in its use of light, Berruguete reveals his mastery of composition and originality in this panel. The architectural structure in which the Virgin is located is made up of Gothic, mudéjar and Renaissance elements and as such is a perfect example of the stylistic fusion that characterised Castilian architecture at this period around 1500 in which there was no single model but rather a coexistence of the three, which were adopted according to the taste and interests of the patron and depending on the function of each building.

The architectural elements that surround the Virgin indicate that they were painted by a Castilian artist, while also pointing to his knowledge of Quattrocento Italian art. The overall effect is one of remarkable realism, achieved by the delicate harmony of the painterly values and the elaborate architectural structure. Nonetheless, the underlying perspectival structure is not entirely perfect. Like almost all the northern painters up to Dürer, Berruguete applied the basic concepts of perspective in an empirical manner and was not familiar with the rules of scientific geometry. His command of aerial perspective and the use of empirical perspective reveal that his training was Flemish rather than Italian.

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