Madonna And Child – Antonio Rossellino

FLORENTINE, 1427-1478

Charm of sentiment and a fine artistry distinguish all Florentine sculpture of the fifteenth century and are found present to a high degree in this portrayal of Christ and His Mother, which represents one of the most popular Italian sculptors, Antonio Rossellino, at an especially happy moment. This artist, from the time of his apprenticeship to his master Donatello, made many Madonnas and illuminated them all with his understanding of the humanity in the placid and tender relationship between the divine Mother and Son. As subjects for representation the tragical aspects of Christianity made no appeal to so gentle a sculptor, whose light hand may be found in the workmanship of the terracotta presepio or Christmas group purchased by the Museum some years ago and exhibited in the main hall of the Wing of Decorative Arts. The Madonna in the Altman bequest, which was formerly in the possession of the Conti Alessandri in Florence and later in the Hainauer Collection, is a wellknown work of the master and resembles a number of similar reliefs from his chisel in the museums of Europe. The fine gradations of the modeling and the arrangement of the light drapery are characteristic of the artist, as are the quiet grace of the figures and the meditative abstraction with which they disregard the beholder. The slight and scarcely noticeable touches of blue on the eyes have a subtlety not often found in the coloration of sculpture in the fifteenth century. The old painted frame, the mellow color of the marble itself, and the traces of pattern work in gold which at one time covered the whole relief, add additional charm to an unretouched example of Renaissance art.