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Francesco d'Antonio di Bartolomeo, The Virgin and Child with Six Angels and Two Cherubim

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child with Six Angels and Two Cherubim
Artist Francesco d'Antonio di Bartolomeo
Artist dates born 1393; last documented 1452
Date made about 1440-50
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 113.4 × 65 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by J. P. Heseltine, 1895
Inventory number NG1456
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child with Six Angels and Two Cherubim
Francesco d'Antonio di Bartolomeo

This is a very unusual depiction of the Virgin Mary. She is shown standing, with eyes trained towards the viewer, the Christ Child perched in the crook of her arm. Her attire is exceptionally sumptuous and, as with the garments of the surrounding angels, it reflects contemporary Florentine fashions.

This type of costume would have looked out of place on an altarpiece, but it’s possible that the painting was made for someone who would have placed it in their bedroom to worship privately. These sorts of private images of the Virgin and Child were often made for women – in this case, perhaps a very wealthy woman who would have been able to identify more closely with the Virgin if she resembled one of her contemporaries. There is some evidence that images like this were given as wedding gifts.

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