Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child

c. 1450

circle of Lorenzo Ghiberti

(Italian, 1378-1455)

Polychromed terracotta

Overall: 81.3 x 59 x 21.6 cm (32 x 23 1/4 x 8 1/2 in.)

Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., for the Coralie Walker Hanna Memorial Collection 1939.161


This half-length Madonna represents one of the finest of about 40 surviving variants, all of which display many characteristics of the Florentine bronze sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. These features include serene facial types with narrow eyes and thin eyebrows, the careful arrangement of the Madonna and Child, forehead to cheek, and the infant's twisting pose. The popularity of this devotional relief began around 1420 and continued until around 1500. Ghiberti was the most successful bronze sculptor of the early Renaissance in Florence. His fame rests upon the commissions he received for two sets of bronze doors, completed between 1401 and 1424, for the Baptistry in Florence. The reclining figure of Eve on the base of this Madonna and Child (suggesting Mary as the new Eve) stems from a similar figure on the upper left door of the Porta del Paradiso, the second set of Baptistry doors. Eve's presence on the base clearly substantiates the attribution to Ghiberti and helps date the relief.

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