National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child Florentine 15th Century (sculptor)
Madonna and Child, c. 1425
painted and gilded terracotta with wood backing
overall: 102.5 x 62.2 x 28.3 cm (40 3/8 x 24 1/2 x 11 1/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
On View
From the Tour: 15th-Century Sculpture in Tuscany
Object 3 of 6

This Madonna and Child is one of the best preserved examples of fifteenth-century gilded and polychromed terracotta relief. In contrast to the hardy, full-length Virgin in the center of this gallery, here Mary is an elegant princess, with high cheekbones, waving locks, and serene expression. The naturalistic colors of her face take on an almost cosmetic quality in their description of her red lips and blushing cheeks. The Virgin's delicate beauty is enhanced by the use of gold on her hair and garments. The Christ child is equally refined. Modeled as a fully round figure, he twists toward the viewer in a graceful, balletic pose as he reaches for the edge of his mother's veil. On the base, an inscription reads AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA ("Hail Mary Full of Grace").

The combination of elegance and energy suggests an artist who was influenced by the Florentine masters Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello.

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