Madonna and Child with Saints


Take an imaginary journey into the stories behind the Cathedral's Renaissance painting, as the artist, Neri di Bicci himself, tells you about this "holy conversation"!

Neri di Bicci speaks:  Today is Friday, the 6th of August, in the Year of Our Lord 1456. A man just came into my studio and commissioned a painting of Our Lady with Our Lord, just the kind of thing I like best to paint. Iím going to have Mary sitting on her heavenly throne, holding the baby Jesus. Iím going to include some saints, too. I think I can probably fit about six of them in the frame. Theyíll be carrying their palms and arrows and crosiers and their other emblemsóotherwise, how will people know which saints they are supposed to be? Just to be on the safe side, Iím going to write their names at the bottom of the picture.

I want people who look at my painting to imagine what it must be like in heaven where the saints finally get to talk to Jesus and Mary, face to face. What a wonderful conversation that must be! And thatís what I am going to paint: a holy conversation!

I pray that Blessed Mary will intercede for me with her Son, that my work might give all the people who look at it a little glimpse of heaven, and bring them closer to Mary and Jesus and all Godís saints. And I ask St. Luke, the patron saint of artists like me, to pray for me as I work!

Click on one of the saints in the painting to hear what they have to say!

The painting came home in style on April 17.  View the photo album here!

Special thanks to the Seattle Art Museum for the photos of the gloriously restored painting.
All photos copyright © Seattle Art Museum, 2005.  All rights reserved.