Stop 24. Virgin and Child with Cherubim


Antonio Rossellino (Italian, 1427/28-1479)
31 1/2 x 22 1/8 inches (800 x 562 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1913.


This exceptionally fine relief was executed by Antonio Rossellino, one of the most talented sculptors active in Florence in the 1460s and 1470s. For this depiction of the Virgin and child, he employed a technique known as rilievo schiacciato, or flattened relief. The composition suggests that he looked at paintings in perspective as well as three-dimensional sculpture in creating a play of light and shadow in the low, carved surface of the marble. Damage along the perimeter of the stone suggests that it was removed from a tabernacle before being framed. The relief has enjoyed tremendous popularity since its creation and gave rise to many plaster casts and replicas.