Madonna and Child
Antonio Rossellino, manner of (sculpting) and Master of the Castello Nativity, attributed to (painting)
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This painted and gilded relief of the Virgin and Child is based on a prototype design attributed to the Florentine sculptor, Antonio Rossellino, and was made sometime in the 1460s when the artist was training in his brother Bernardo's workshop. Numerous versions of this relief were copied in the period, in both inexpensive materials (stucco, terracotta, and paper mache) and costly materials (marble and bronze) and sent to a painter's workshop to be coloured. Apparently, a copy in embossed leather was also made. A recent restoration has revealed the colour modelling of the faces, fabrics and veils, as well as the intricate punch-work on the gold haloes that were previously obscured by overpaint layers, leading scholars to believe that the relief was coloured by the Master of the Castello Nativity. Virgin and Child images were often given as gifts to newlyweds to be displayed in the home for private devotion. That this Virgin and Child has two coat of arms on the bottom frame belonging to the Buonagrazia family on the left and the Puccini family on the right suggests that it was purchased and customized upon the marriage of Francesco Buonagrazia and Fiammetta Puccini in the 1460s. As suggested by fifteenth-century documents that discuss similar images of the Virgin and Child, this relief may have had talismanic functions in the home, such as offering protection or promoting the health and prosperity of the family. With no surviving heir to inherit his possessions, Francesco Buonagrazia bequeathed this relief to the Ospedale degli Innocenti, which helps explain its current location in the Museo degli Innocenti in Florence. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.