Giovanni Bellini, Madonna and Child with Saints

Church of St. Zacharias, Venice, Italy

On the far left St. Peter holds his keys and book. He is further identified by his short, square beard and baldness. The woman with the martyr's palm behind him could be St. Agatha, to whom Peter appeared when she was in prison.

The man on the right is St. Jerome, identified by his red garments. The woman saint behind him carries a palm branch and an unlidded glass vessel. One might guess that she is St. Mary Magdalene, who regularly holds an ointment jar in her portraits, but she never carries a palm branch and her jar is always lidded. She could be St. Anastasia, who carries unlidded vessels in some of her portraits and as a martyr would appropriately be pictured with a palm branch.

The child is naked, as had been the practice in the previous century. The gold balls on the arms of the throne, if they are not purely decorative, may refer to the child's reign over the earth. Orbs of this sort are more commonly seen in the child's hands.

The "sculpted" face of a king on the back of the throne seems too human to be the Father. It might represent King David, ancestor of the child.

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