This mature work is a version of a popular design known in at least two other paintings by Sassoferrato. This particular design showing the Virgin at prayer is one of at least four evolved by the artist.
Sassoferrato places emphasis on the softly modelled draperies, the white veil and brilliant blue cloak, painted in ultramarine. The face remains largely in shadow, the eyes downcast, and this has the effect of highlighting the hands joined in prayer.
The painting recalls works by such artists as Raphael, and anticipates certain Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 19th century.
13 April 2011