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

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.