National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Charity Mino da Fiesole (artist)
Florentine, 1429 - 1484
Charity, 1475/1480
marble
overall: 126 x 43 cm (49 5/8 x 16 15/16 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
1937.1.117
On View
From the Tour: 15th-Century Sculpture in Tuscany
Object 5 of 6

Carved in high relief, this figure continues the medieval artistic tradition of personifying virtues. Charity (shown here) and Faith (Hope may once have completed the group) are depicted as young women dressed in thin, clinging garments that reveal their bodies underneath. Charity offers succor to an adoring child. Faith is identified by her now-broken cross and chalice. On bases treated as banks of heavenly clouds, each figure stands in graceful contrapposto, bearing weight on one leg, while the other leg is relaxed. The high, plucked foreheads and long, slender fingers reflect a late fifteenth-century ideal of beauty contemporary with the early paintings of Botticelli.

The placement of the figures in shell-topped niches suggests that they were once part of a monument, perhaps a tomb, combining sculpture and architecture. In this context, the virtues would have represented the reasons for the deceased person's hopes for entering Paradise.

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