Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist

The Virgin Mary tenderly embraces her infant son, Jesus, while a young John the Baptist prays devoutly. The Latin inscription on his scroll translates as, “Behold the Lamb of God.” John would later speak these words to his followers when introducing Jesus, prophesying Christ’s fate as an innocent lamb sacrificed to redeem humankind from its sins. The scene is painted as a tondo, a circular format often used for devotional pictures intended for domestic settings in fifteenth-century Florence.

Sandro Botticelli and Studio

Italian, 1444 or 1445–1510

Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist

c. 1490

Tempera, oil, and gold on panel

Diameter: 34 7/8 in. (88.6 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1953




Olson, Roberta J. M. The Florentine Tondo. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.