Brera Madonna  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Brera Madonna (also known as the Pala di Brera, the Montefeltro Altarpiece or Brera Altarpiece) is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Piero della Francesca, executed in 1472-1474. It is housed in the Pinacoteca di Brera of Milan, where it was deposited by Napoleon.

The work, of a type known as a sacra conversazione, was commissioned by Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, to celebrate the birth of Federico's son, Guidobaldo. According to other sources, it would celebrate his conquest of several castles in the Maremma.

Ostrich egg[1]

The apse ends with a shell semi-dome from which an ostrich egg is hanging. The shell was a symbol of the new Venus, Mary (in fact it is perpendicular to her head) and of eternal beauty. According to another hypothesis, the egg would be a pearl, and the shell would refer to the miracle of the Immaculate conception (the shell generates the pearl without any male intervention). The egg is generally considered a symbol of the Creation and, in particular, to Guidobaldo's birth; the ostrich was also one of the heraldic symbols of the Montefeltro family.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Brera Madonna" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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