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Attributed to Ugolino di Nerio, The Virgin and Child with Four Angels

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child with Four Angels
Artist Attributed to Ugolino di Nerio
Artist dates documented 1317-27; died possibly 1329
Date made about 1305
Medium and support Egg tempera on poplar
Dimensions 41.2 × 28.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with contributions from the Lewis Fund and the Art Fund (Eugene Cremetti Fund), 1968
Inventory number NG6386
Location Gallery F
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child with Four Angels
Attributed to Ugolino di Nerio

The Virgin is seated on a marble seat, intricately carved and decorated with multi-coloured inlay, outlined in gold. It resembles a Roman tomb, perhaps as a reminder of Christ’s future sacrifice at his Crucifixion. Here, Christ is shown as an infant, tenderly reaching to touch his mother’s face, a gesture also found in paintings by Duccio, Siena’s most renowned painter in the fourteenth century.

The fine detail, the decorative use of gold leaf and the gentle and graceful nature of the holy figures are key features of Sienese painting of this period. Ugolino da Nerio was a Sienese artist who was working at the same time as Duccio; he would have known Duccio’s work well and emulated his style. When this work was purchased, it was thought to be by Duccio but recent technical analysis of the drawing beneath the painted surface compares it more closely to documented works by Ugolino.

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