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Virgin and Child was clearly meant to be seen from a distance. The large, uncluttered composition allows the flowing lines to stand out. Its creator, Sebald Beham, meant it for public devotion of the Madonna. He used simple patterns of lines to make the cutting of the printing block quicker and cheaper, an important consideration for a work of art intended for a middle-class market. Most examples were probably affixed to walls and have long since perished from exposure to weather, insects, and vandalism. Of the hundreds printed, only about a dozen survive.

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