Virgin and Child, St. Anne and Infant St. John
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© Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation

Frederick Sommer
American, 1966
Gelatin silver print
9 7/16 x 6 15/16 in.

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Comprised of an illustration torn from an old children's book and a lump of hardened molten metal from a burned-out automobile, this photograph by Frederick Sommer is titled after Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the same name. The amorphous shape laid on top of an anonymous lithograph of a figure seated in the woods next to a basket closely resembles the outline of the Madonna and Child from the fifteenth-century drawing. The smiling head of a boy emerging from the foliage becomes the infant Saint John. In the union of an abstract object with unrelated representational imagery, Sommer has made an art historical reference that is both literal and spiritual.