Antonio Sasso, after Perugino (born Umbria, Italy, 1446; died Fontignano, Italy, 1524)
Italian, active c. 1850s
Madonna del Sacco (Madonna with a Sack)
oil on wood panel
89.9 x 85.4 cm
©Government of Ontario Art Collection, Archives of Ontario
This panel is a copy made after an original by Perugino, acclaimed Italian Renaissance artist and mentor to the great master Raphael. Representations of the Virgin and Child were extremely popular in Renaissance art, and Perugino’s depictions of the Virgin were known for their sweetness. This work shows Mary and the infant St. John adoring the Christ Child, who is held up by an angel. He rests against a sack of grain, which represents God’s sustaining power in the Christian Bible. The triangular arrangement of the figures is very typical of devotional art from this period. The landscape in the background of this panel would have been very familiar to contemporary viewers, as it depicts the foothills of the Italian countryside. Perugino’s original panel is currently in the collection of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.