Urgent Museum Notice

Madonna and Child

Close up of Madonna and Child

Painting of the Virgin Mary and an infant Jesus, both light-haired and light skinned. Held by Mary, Jesus stands on the hem of her blue robe, raising his right hand as they both gaze at the viewer. Behind, a daylight landscape with mountains, palm trees and a body of water.

Julie Mihes, Madonna and Child, 1823; Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 33 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase: Members' Acquisition Fund

Madonna and Child
Julie Mihes

Many of Julie Mihes’s paintings, like this one of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus, reflect the style of a group of early 19th-century Viennese artists known as the Brotherhood of St. Luke. Also called the Nazarenes, these artists took vows of poverty and chastity and sought to capture what they viewed as the spiritual purity of early Renaissance art. It is not known if Mihes was directly affiliated with the Nazarenes, but like them, she depicted traditional religious subjects in a formal style, with intense colors and little modeling of forms.

Mihes signed and dated this painting at the lower left with the inscription: “Julia Primisser geb. Mihes inv. & pinx. 1823,” which translates to “Julia Primisser born Mihes invented and painted this 1823.” By inscribing the painting in this way, Mihes not only claimed authorship of the image but made it clear that it was her own composition, rather than a copy. However, she did make use of traditional symbolism associated with images of the Madonna and Child such as the imaginary paradisiacal background, and Christ raising his right arm in blessing.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Julie Mihes
  • Title

    Madonna and Child
  • Date

    1823
  • Medium

    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions

    39 1/4 x 33 1/4 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Museum purchase: Members’ Acquisition Fund
  • On Display

    No