Madonna and Child

This glazed terracotta relief is a variation on a popular composition that seems to have been created originally by Andrea del Verrocchio, known as the Madonna of the Cushion or Birmingham Madonna. Buglioni has copied quite closely the poses of the precociously standing baby and gentle yet stately Madonna, but made the work his own by adding the cherub heads, dove of the Holy Spirit, and lilies and finishing the work by glazing it blue, white, and green. He reproduced this composition on different occasions, a process that was facilitated by the use of molds. (A similar work also by Buglioni, but without the added details, survives in the Museo di Santa Croce in Florence.) The original location of this relief, now in the Museo di Palazzo Pretorio in Prato, is unknown, but these half-length reliefs of the Madonna and Child were generally used for domestic devotion. Contemporary handbooks state that images of the well-behaved Jesus could serve as models for young children, and that gazing at such images could help women conceive healthy boys. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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