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Workshop of Sandro Botticelli, 'The Virgin and Child with Saint John and Two Angels', probably about 1490-1500

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child with Saint John and Two Angels
Artist Workshop of Sandro Botticelli
Artist dates about 1445 - 1510
Date made probably about 1490-1500
Medium and support Tempera and oil on wood
Dimensions 114.3 × 113 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1855
Inventory number NG226
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child with Saint John and Two Angels
Workshop of Sandro Botticelli

The Virgin Mary sits on a stepped bench in front of a bed of roses, the infant Christ resting on her lap. He hangs on to his mother’s veil, raising his other hand in a gesture of greeting. Both figures make direct eye contact with the viewer, while an angel to either side holds a jewelled crown over the head of the Virgin. A young Saint John the Baptist kneels in the foreground, his hands crossed over his chest as he looks on in devotion.

Circular paintings like this, better known as tondi (from the Italian for ‘round’), were popular in fifteenth-century Florence, and the workshop of Sandro Botticelli specialised in their production. This one was acquired by Charles Eastlake, first Director of the National Gallery, in 1855. The purchase caused some controversy, however, in part because other works made in Botticelli’s workshop are of a much higher standard.

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