The Virgin appearing to St. Bernard

The Virgin appearing to St. Bernard
Artist Pietro Perugino
Year c. 1490-1494
Type Oil on wood
Dimensions 173 cm × 170 cm (68.1 in × 66.9 in)
Location Alte Pinakothek, Munich

The Virgin appearing to St. Bernard is a painting by the Italian artist Pietro Perugino, the main painter of the Umbrian school that was based in Perugia. The panel was executed as an altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi in Florence.[1] It was later acquired in 1829/30 for King Ludwig I of Bavaria from the Capponi in Florence, and eventually made it to the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.[2] The work has been called "one of the high points of European painting in the late 15th century."[1]

The painting shows [St Bernard of Clairvaux ], deep in his studies, being interrupted by a fully corporeal vision of the Virgin Mary, who appears to him in the clear light of day. Four saints surround them. There is a seemingly effortless, perfect symmetry about the composition, yet there is nothing static or artificial about it in any way.[3] The position of the Virgin and St. Bernard's prie-dieu are both slightly off balance, but not enough to ruin the serene harmony of the picture.[1] The faces of the various figures contribute to this quiet beauty, without showing much individualism or realism.[3] Likewise, the colours are bright and radiant, without being flashy.[1]



  • Gombrich, E.H., The Story of Art, 16th ed. (London & New York, 1995), ISBN 0-7148-3355-X
  • Gould, Cecil, The Sixteenth Century Italian Schools, National Gallery Catalogues, (London 1975), ISBN 0-947645-22-5
  • Walther, Ingo F. & Robert Suckale (eds.), Masterpieces Of Western Art: A History Of Art In 900 Individual Studies , (Cologne, 2002) ISBN 3-8228-1825-9
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.