Francesco di Valdambrino
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Francesco di Valdambrino, Jacopo della Quercia, and other Sienese artists made many of these pairs of large (almost life-size) statues of the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, possibly to stand in niches on either side of a chapel or nave, creating almost theatrical tableaux. In all cases, Gabriel has lost his wings (originally slotted into cavities in the back of the statue), which could have been made of wood or perhaps of a more fragile material -- cloth or even feathers, which would explain why they do not survive. Scholars have attributed these examples to the Sienese specialist in wood sculpture, Francesco di Valdambrino, but there is little agreement on the exact date. The sculptures are carved from poplar and were fully polychromed. They were made for the Cathedral of Volterra and moved to the Conservatorio in the same city at the beginning of the sixteenth century, at which time the polychromy was "renewed" with a complete re-painting, a standard practice in the period for wood sculpture. Because of poor preservation of this second layer of polychromy on the faces and hair of the two figures, it was removed just in these areas, and so the original polychromy is currently visible on the faces and hair of the two figures, but for the fabrics, etc., the subsequent layer of paint and gilding has been left intact. These works are now located in the Pinacoteca Civica of Volterra. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.