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Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560-Rome 1609)

The Madonna and Sleeping Child with the Infant St John the Baptist ('Il Silenzio') c.1599-1600

RCIN 404762

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In this small devotional painting, the Virgin raises her finger to her lips to warn John the Baptist not to wake the sleeping Christ. Christ’s future sacrifice is alluded to by the resemblance of the table to an altar or tomb and the shroud-like cloth on which he sleeps. The cherries, of which one has already been eaten, symbolise heaven. Acquired by George III in 1766