In the spirit of Renaissance humanism, Mantegna concentrated on the psychological interactions of the principal actors in this sacred drama. The close-up scheme of half-length figures, set before a neutral background and compressed within a shallow space, was created by Mantegna from his study of ancient Roman reliefs. This private devotional image may have been painted for the Gonzaga family, rulers of Mantua, who employed Mantegna as court painter.
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