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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 up, staring directly at the viewer, the Christ Child propped in the crook of her arm. There is no other example of the Virgin dressed in such sumptuous, secular clothes in the history of Italian painting.

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.

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