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Lorenzo Costa with collaborators, The Virgin and Child with Saints

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child enthroned with Saint George (?) and Saint John the Baptist ('Pala Strozzi')
Artist Lorenzo Costa with collaborators
Artist dates 1460 - 1535
Date made about 1498-1502
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 247 × 163.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1882
Inventory number NG1119
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child with Saints
Lorenzo Costa with collaborators

The Virgin Mary and Christ Child are seated on a marble throne, which is elevated by two plinths decorated with biblical scenes. Below them stand two saints, Saint John the Baptist and probably Saint George in armour.

A number of changes suggest that the altarpiece was painted in more than one stage. The first version of the Virgin’s cloak was almost entirely repainted, for example, and Christ’s arm was altered. More radically, pairs of cherubic heads once seemed to float in the air around the Virgin. Some art historians have argued that the altarpiece was begun by one artist and finished by another, but the extensive changes don't necessarily mean that different artists were involved. Lorenzo Costa’s artistic ideals underwent a radical transformation around the time this altarpiece was painted, and the simplification of the setting and redesign of the drapery reflect the pictorial style of his later years.

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