Bust of the Christ Child

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Attributed to Antonio Rossellino
Florence, Italy, 1460-1470
Marble, with nineteenth-century metal halo.
height: 18 7/8 inches (480 mm; with base) 15 1/8 inches (385 mm; without base) depth: 11 inches (280 mm) width: 15 3/8 inches (390 mm with base) 13 3/8 inches (340 mm without base); halo diameter: 8 1/2 inches (217 mm) column height: 49 1/4 inches (1250 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909.

This bust of a young boy has been traditionally identified as depicting the Christ child, even though the metal halo is a nineteenth-century addition. The bust may once have been coupled with one of the young St. John the Baptist, as such pairings were popular in Florence during the second half of the fifteenth century. Executed in marble, terra-cotta, or stucco, similar busts were produced in sizable numbers in the workshops of artists such as the Rossellino brothers, Bernardo and his younger brother Antonio, as well as Desiderio da Settignano. These devotional images were used both in private settings, for domestic devotion, and as decorative elements in religious buildings.

Count Cosimo degli Alessandri (1852-1894), Florence; Oscar Hainauer (1840-1894), Berlin, in 1877; his sale, London, 1906, S.4, plate 4; Duveen Brothers, London; from whom purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan in 1909.

Bust of Christ Child on wooden base over column. The metal halo is modern.