Madonna and Child (Madonna del Magnificat)
Giovanni di Turino (sculptor) and Gregorio di Cecco di Luca (painter), attributed to
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Mary is here a monumental figure, enthroned, clothed in sumptuous brocade and gold, her hair gilded. Jesus is much less grand in girth and turns away to face his mother, but he too wears brocaded royal red, blue, and gold and has gilded hair. Mary smiles, and her lips seem slightly parted, as if she is about to speak. Her words are the Magnificat, which are inscribed using pastiglia (raised gesso) along the edges of her mantle. The Magnificat is a hymn, recorded in the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55), in which Mary declares her own humility and how it is God who is magnificent and who has raised her and other poor, weak, and humble people to glory. This very grand but also tenderly human sculpture seems to embody this key paradox of Christianity: the low being exalted. This sculpture was likely the central element in an altarpiece in the Maresciotti Chapel in Sant'Agostino in Siena, documented as done in 1420, flanked by paintings by Taddeo di Bartolo and Gregorio di Cecco di Luca. The latter was likely responsible for the polychromy of the wooden statue, which was probably sculpted by Giovanni di Turino. The work belongs to Sant'Agostino in Siena, but is currently on deposit in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.