Maestro di San Pietro Celestino
Madonna and Child with Saints Sebastian, Roch, and Monica

Late 16th century (est.)
Albani Diocesan Museum

The painting is probably from the late 16th or early 17th century, the era when Madonna images started to retreat from showing the child as entirely naked. Here Mary covers his genitalia with her left hand. She holds her right hand palm-out. In Madonnas of this period gestures are rare, as Mary usually holds the child with both hands. The gesture does appear in some Eastern Annunciation icons to denote reserve or detachment on Mary's part (Tradigo, 101).

As usual, St. Sebastian is pictured as a young man standing nearly naked against a truncated tree and pierced by arrows. The portrait of Roch is less conventional, there being no dog, but his traveler's gear seems sufficient for identification. St. Monica wears the black and white garb often used to identify her as a widow. The tiny, identically posed figure kneeling before her may be the donor.

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Read more about images of the Madonna and Child, St. Sebastian, St. Roch, and St. Monica.

Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.