“Madonna in Red (Madonna Duran),” Rogir van der Weiden – a description of the picture

“Madonna in Red (Madonna Duran),” Rogir van der Weiden – a description of the picture
“Madonna in Red (Madonna Duran),” Rogir van der Weiden - a description of the picture - 1

    • Posted by Rogir van der Weiden
    • Museum: Prado Museum
    • Year: Between 1435 and 1438

Description of the picture :

Madonna in Red (Madonna Duran) – Rogir van der Weiden. Panel, oil. 100 x 52 cm

She is often called Madonna Duran in honor of the last owner of this painting, who transferred it to the Prado Museum. Perhaps this is the most unusual and memorable of all the works of Rogir van der Weiden.

She is very concise both in the plot – a young woman sits with a baby on her lap, and in the color palette – the artist uses only three main colors – black, red and white.

Thanks to the deep black background, overflows of the warm fiery red shades of Madonna’s robe become brighter, delicate mother-of-pearl skin glows softly, and the baby’s red curls are golden. In the rays of light, a gold embroidery shines on a scarlet bedspread, the fabric is intricate with a tied scarf and the baby shirt seems snow-white.

Bowing her head, the young mother admires the baby, leafing through a large book on her lap. Carefully holds it on its knees, holding a graceful hand with long fingers. Her gaze is gentle and sad, because she knows the fate of her son.

And the child is looking at the book with curiosity, trying to turn the pages with small fingers. However, his eyes look serious and focused, not at all childish.

They are located on a small protruding balcony of a small niche, the edges of which are framed by an arch decorated with carved Gothic pattern similar to wood carvings. But the edge of the balcony is very close, and the niche is so narrow that you feel fear for Madonna and son.

Mother and child are so alone, despite the fact that a small angel is floating above their heads. Rays of light embrace only his face from the darkness, but the magnificent crown of the Queen of Heaven, decorated with precious stones, glistens in his hands. Light coffee folds of silk clothes, dark green, almost black, the wings of an angel dissolve in darkness.

The choice of paints by the painter is not accidental – red symbolizes love, resurrection, and white emphasizes holiness and purity. The book in the hands of Madonna is a sign of the divinity of the Word.

And, of course, the details written in brilliantly by the master: a thin ring on the finger, small folds on the scarf, silver book clasps, the patterned edge of the lower skirt.

The picture is filled with tenderness, but, peering into these faces, so lively and real, you feel the tragedy and inevitability of the future.