Pistoia, 1439-Fossombrone, 1497/1498
Madonna with Child
dated: 1470 ca.
Sculpted and painted stucco (plaster), cm 65×48,5
This relief depicting the ‘Madonna with Child’ belongs to a critically renowned type of stucco sculpture. The Madonna is shown in half-bust behind a balustrade, dressed in the customary garb of tunic, cloak and veil on the head. The infant Jesus is standing on the balustrade, wearing a tunic gathered on the bust, leaving the sex naked. This image derives from a famous model by Verrocchio, often reworked by his pupils, in both painting and sculpture, throughout the whole seventh decade of the 1400s. Artists such as Perugino and Ghirlandaio used this composition, as well as Piermatteo d’Amelia and Francesco di Simone Ferruccio. The prototype is recognizable in the ‘Madonna with Child’, by Andrea del Verrocchio, located in the Bargello Museum in Florence.
This stucco is probably a mold for a lost marble, as was the wont in Florence during the fifteenth century, when artworks were replicated by the same master for commercial purposes.
In this case, the relief is identical to a stucco piece, now remounted in a niche with borders by Neri di Bicci in a slightly antique manner, which is preserved in the Museum of Palazzo Davanzati in Florence. Giancarlo Gentilini has proposed, for both that example and ours, an attribution to Domenico Rosselli, who must have sculpted and then modelled this kind of Madonna at the centre of his production, immediately after leaving the workshop of Verrocchio.