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Probably by Bartolomeo Montagna, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Probably by Bartolomeo Montagna
Artist dates living 1459; died 1523
Date made probably 1481
Medium and support Fresco
Dimensions 83.8 × 57.8 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Lady Layard, 1900
Inventory number NG1696
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child
Probably by Bartolomeo Montagna

The Virgin and Christ Child are painted in fresco, a technique that involved painting directly onto fresh plaster. The Virgin’s mantle would originally have been a much more vivid shade of blue.

This once belonged to Austen Henry Layard, archaeologist and explorer. He was a founder of the Arundel Society, which aimed to document frescoes in Italian churches and palaces through drawings and art-historical descriptions.

When it was in Layard’s collection an inscription on its modern frame noted that it was from the choir of the church at Magrè, near the town of Schio in the province of Vicenza – but we don't know now what the evidence for this suggestion may have been. The painting was once thought to be by Giovanni Bellini or one of his followers, but now the suggestion of Montagna seems more likely. Montagna was from Vicenza, but the fragment is so damaged that it’s not possible to be certain who painted it.

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