Standing Virgin and Child

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Follower of Donatello
Florence or Padua, Italy, ca. 1470.
Painted and gilded terra-cotta
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1904.

This rare depiction of the standing Virgin holding the Christ child was most likely executed by one of Donatello's followers in Padua; the figure types closely resemble those of Donatello's mature style. While numerous Italian fifteenth-century reliefs of this format survive, they usually depict the Virgin in a three-quarter pose, seated on a throne. Representations of the Virgin standing are unusual. This relief was executed in terra-cotta and then enhanced with paint and gilding.
Aimee Ng recently noted for comparison Giovanni di Turino's gilt-bronze sportello (tabernacle door) for Siena's font, which depicts a standing Virgin and Child and measures 23.2 x 47.5 cm. Giovanni's door replaced a sportello produced by Donatello that was returned to the artist in 1434. Although nothing is known of the appearance or whereabouts of Donatello's original relief, it also may have featured a standing Virgin and Child.

Martelli family, Florence; E. Lowengard, London; purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan in 1904 (as Donatello).