The theme of the Virgin and Child has had and important role throughout the art history because beyond its symbolic religious functions, it allows one to analyze the relationship between mother and child in its many aspects (as Sigmund Freud did when undertook a psychoanalytic examination of Leonardo in his essay “Leonardo da Vinci, A Memory of His Childhood”). Furthermore The depiction of the Virgin and Child is among ancient and widespread in Medieval art (aggiungi link alla landing Medieval Art) and has the greatest number of variations.
Images of the Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons Medieval Art . Mary and the infant Jesus may be surrounded by adoring angels or worshipping saints, however paintings which have a narrative content are not usually referred to as a "Madonna", but are given a title that reflects the scene such as the Annunciation to Mary. The earliest such images date from the Early Christian Church and are found in the catacombs of Rome. Representation of Mary became more common after the Council of Ephesus in 431. For over a thousand years, through the Byzantine, Medieval and Early Renaissance periods the Virgin and Child was the most often produced pictorial artwork. Many specific images of Mary whit Jesus, both painted and sculptured, have achieved fame, either as objects of religious veneration or for their intrinsic artistic qualities. Many of the most renowned painters and sculptors in the history of art have turned their skills toward the creation of Madonna images. These artists include Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo,