If Correggio's mythologies seem to anticipate the boudoir decorations of the eighteenth century, this ravishing tiny picture prefigures developments in seventeenth-century religious sentiment and imagery. Indeed, it may have directly affected them through drawn and engraved copies.
In this painting Correggio turns the theme of Holy Family into an idyll of innocence, of maternal and filial love. The scene is suffused with tenderness. Sitting outdoors under a tree, the Virgin, workbasket at her side, is trying a jacket she has just made on the Christ Child. He wriggles on her lap, reaching for the sun-dappled leaves. Mary is dressed in old rose, and the painting is dominated by the soft harmony of grey-pinks and grey-blues. In the background, pale as if in a haze of dust in the sunshine, Joseph is working with a carpenter's plane. Their ramshackle home has been built abutting on grandiose ruins. The twisting, complex pose of the Virgin, the extreme foreshortening of the Child's leg and groin, are made to seem effortless. Correggio's famous 'softness', the gradual transitions from shadow to light which he learned from Leonardo's Milanese works, but interpreted through a golden prism of Venetian colour, casts a seductive veil over the figures. Even though the scale of the picture invites close inspection, and the Virgin and Child are near to us, we cannot quite see them sharply in the blur and shimmer of the painter's brush.
Friedrich's last oil paintings such as the Wreck in the Moonlight and The Riesengebirge (both in the Nationalgalerie, Berlin), executed c. 1835 before he suffered a stroke on 26 June 1835 that left him partially paralysed in the arms and legs, around 1835, condense motifs typical of Friedrich into definitive statements which etch themselves indelibly upon the memory with their inner grandeur, their solemnity and their formal sovereignty.
The subject of Adam and Eve offered Dürer the opportunity to depict the ideal human figure. Painted in Nuremberg soon after his return from Venice, the panels were influenced by Italian art. Dürer's colouring is muted, and he models the bodies with the help of light and shadow, making the figures emerge from the dark background. Adam and Eve are noticeably slimmer than in his engraving of three years earlier.
Dürer's Adam and Eve represent the earliest known life-size nudes in Northern art. Eve, whose skin is whiter than Adam's, is next to the Tree of Knowledge, standing in a curious position with one foot behind the other. Her right hand rests on a bough and with her left hand she accepts the ripe apple offered by the coiled serpent. On a tablet is the inscription: `Albrecht Dürer, Upper German, made this 1507 years after the Virgin's offspring.' Adam inclines his head towards Eve and stretches out the fingers of his right hand on the other side, creating a sense of balance.