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Follower of Sandro Botticelli, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Follower of Sandro Botticelli
Artist dates about 1445 - 1510
Date made probably about 1485-1500
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 29.5 × 19.7 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3082
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child
Follower of Sandro Botticelli

The dark background and absence of any furnishings focus attention on the Virgin Mary, who makes direct eye contact with the viewer. She stands underneath an open curtain, holding her infant son as if to prevent him from falling from the narrow ledge in the foreground. A transparent veil does little to conceal Christ’s body.

The pose of the Virgin and Christ Child is very close to the central part of the altarpiece that Sandro Botticelli made for the Florentine church of S. Barnaba during the late 1480s. Numerous assistants in Botticelli’s workshop would have been tasked to meet the high demand for copies after this popular altarpiece.

The small dimensions of this panel could possibly have allowed its original owner, perhaps a Florentine merchant, to take it on his travels. Its current frame was made in the nineteenth century to resemble an original one.

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