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The Virgin and Child with an Angel
Fausto Muzzi and Giuseppe Guizzardi and after Francesco Francia
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This painting is a nineteenth-century copy of The Virgin and Child with an Angel by Francesco Francia (Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh). It is highly unusual because it is a forgery, made to deceive.

When the painting was bequeathed to the National Gallery in 1924 it was thought to be by the late fifteenth-century painter and goldsmith, Francesco Francia. In 1954, another version of the composition appeared on the art market (now in the Carnegie Museum). Scientific examination subsequently proved that the National Gallery’s picture was a deliberate fake.

The Virgin holds the naked infant Christ, who stands on her knee and raises his hand to us in blessing. An angel offers him cherries in a fantastic golden chalice, which may give us a sense of the appearance of Francia’s work as a goldsmith – almost all of which has been lost.

Key facts
Artist Fausto Muzzi and Giuseppe Guizzardi and after Francesco Francia
Artist dates 1801 - 1879; 1779 - 1861; about 1447 - 1517
Full title The Virgin and Child with an Angel
Date made about 1840-4
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 58.5 x 44.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3927
Location in Gallery Not on display
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