The Visitation by Pontormo is located in the Parish Church of San Michele e San Francesco in Carmignano and depicts Mary, pregnant with Jesus, during her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist.
The work, an oil painting on panel made between 1528 and 1530 and commissioned by the Pinadori family, has practically always remained inside the church for which it was intended, and represents one of the most admirable examples of early Florentine Mannerism.
The shimmering colours that alternate between reds, greens and greys, the elongated forms, the intersecting perspectives of the four women’s gazes and the German influence of Durer’s painting style all made this portrayal truly emblematic of the spirit of an artistic period that was transitioning from classicism to anti-classicism.
Pontormo concentrated on the intimate aspect of the encounter, but highlights the sense of mystery that surrounds the two women and the atmosphere of anticipation for the two imminent and exceptional births.
The Visitation in Carmignano is Pontormo’s third variation of the theme: the first was made for the Carro della Moneta, which depicts the women’s embrace and is conserved in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, while the second is located in the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, also in Florence.