Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 10:00 to 5:00

Overview

Golden curls and the sweep of gilded drapery give this Virgin Mary the look of a medieval princess. But twisting within her grasp is a vigorous nude child, whose representation suggests studies of nature and ancient sculpture characteristic of the Renaissance. This polychromed high relief may have been created for household devotion or for placement above a church altar. The painter who colored it turned the heads of the nails —  which secure the clay figures to a wooden board — into elements of the design, and hatched the shadowed areas to emphasize the bold modeling by a sculptor who was familiar with the works of Florentine masters Ghiberti and Donatello.

Inscription

on base, on front: AVE.MARIA.GRATIA.PRENA (sic)

Provenance

Possibly S. Spirito, Florence.[1] Dr. Eduard Simon [1864-1929], Berlin; (his sale, Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 10-11 October 1929, no. 32). (A.S. Drey, New York), by 1930.[2] Clarence H. Mackay [1874-1938], Roslyn, New York; acquired from his estate by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York), by May 1940;[3] sold 1941 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1943 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1914
Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, 1914, no. 204.
1946
Recent Additions to the Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1946, no. A-147.
2013
La Primavera del Rinascimento: La Scultura e le Arti a Firenze 1400-1460, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2013-2014, no. VIII.8, repro.
Bibliography
1914
Bode, Wilhelm von. "Lorenzo Ghiberti." Berlin Jahrbuch 35 (1914): 80, repro.
1921
Bode, Wilhelm von. Florentiner Bildhauer der Renaissance. Berlin, 1921: 83, repro.
1928
Bode, Wilhelm von. Florentine Sculptors of the Renaissance. Translated by Jessie Haynes. Revised 2nd edition. London, 1928: 66, repro. (Reprint, New York, 1969).
1930
"Rare Paintings and Sculptures." Art News (29 March 1930): 3, repro.
1936
Krautheimer, Richard. "Terra Cotta Madonnas." Parnassus (December 1936): 5-8, 37, fig. 5.
1940
Art Digest (15 May 1940): 8.
1940
Art News (11 May 1940): 13, repr.
1944
Duveen Brothers, Inc. Duveen Sculpture in Public Collections of America: A Catalog Raisonné with illustrations of Italian Renaissance Sculptures by the Great Masters which have passed through the House of Duveen. New York, 1944: figs. 1-4, as by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
1944
Frankfurter, Alfred M. The Kress Collection in the National Gallery. New York, 1944: 9, repro., as by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
1945
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1945 (reprinted 1947, 1949): 176, repro., as by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
1949
Goldschider, Ludwig. Ghiberti. New York, 1949: pl. 121.
1949
Seymour, Charles. Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1949: 174, note 14, repro. 57, 58, 60, as by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
1951
Hartt, Frederick. 'Review: Charles Seymour Jr., Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art." College Art Journal 10 (Winter 1951): 205.
1951
Pope-Hennessy, John. 'Review: Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art by Charles Seymour." The Burlington Magazine 93, 576 (March 1951): 98.
1955
Pope-Hennessy, John. Italian Gothic Sculpture. New York, 1955: 215-216.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 396, repro., as by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
1961
Walker, John, Guy Emerson, and Charles Seymour. Art Treasures for America: An Anthology of Paintings & Sculpture in the Samuel H. Kress Collection. London, 1961:, 42-43, color repro.
1965
Ragghianti, Carlo L. "Novità per Jacopo della Quercia." Critica d'Arte 12, n.s. fasc. 75 (November 1965): 35-47, fig. 16.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 157, as by Ghiberti.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 139, repro., as by Ghiberti.
1976
Middeldorf, Ulrich. Sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools XIV-XIX Century. London, 1976: 13.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 623, no. 960, repro.
1988
Kecks, Ronald. "Zur Künstlerischen Entwicklung Lorenzo Ghibertis in der Madonnendarstellung." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 32, no. 3 (1988): 525-536, fig. 1.
1994
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 86, repro.
2002
Darr, Alan, Peter Barnet, and Antonia Boström. Catalogue of Italian Sculptures in the Detroit Institute of Arts. 2 vols. London, 2002: 1:91.
2008
Bormand, Marc. La Vierge et l'Enfant: Deux reliefs en terre cuite. Paris, 2008: 7, 27 fig. 3.
2008
Campigli, Marco, and Galli, Aldo. Donatello e il primo Rinascimento. Florence, 2008: 31, 33 repro., 156-159, repro. as by Donatello.
2010
Cristanetti, Simona. "Hatching a Theory of Attribution: A 15th-Century Madonna and Child at the National Gallery of Art." In Hannelore Römich, ed. Glass and Ceramics Conservation 2010: interim meeting of the ICOM-CC Working Group, October 3-6, 2010. Corning, 2010: 219-227, fig. 1.
2013
Langhanke, Birgit. Die Madonnenreliefs im Werk von Antonio Rossellino. Ph.D. diss. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, 2013: 39, 189, 314, fig. 2.
2016
Gentilini, Giancarlo. “La tradizione del legno e la rinascita della terracotta: un confronto sotto la pelle della scultura dipinta.” In “Fece di scoltura di legname e colorì”. Scultura del Quattrocento in legno dipinto a Firenze. Exh. cat. Gallerie degli Uffizi, 2016: 62-79, esp. 69, repro. 64 , as Donatello.
2016
National Gallery of Art. Highlights from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Washington, 2016: 43, repro.