Virgin and Child with the Young St John the Baptist and Two Angels

Sandro Botticelli

Data sheet

  • Author: Sandro Botticelli
  • Date: 1468
  • Collection: PAINTING
  • Technique: Tempera on panel
  • Dimensions: 98x97 cm
  • Inventory: Inv. 1890 n. 3166


Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (1445-1510), better known as Sandro Botticelli, was the student of Verrocchio and Filippo Lippi. While this early work shows the young artist still tied to his teachers’ style, it also demonstrates his desire to free himself from his illustrious models. The composition of the Virgin and Child is expanded to include two angels and the St John the Baptist. One cherub holds up the Christ Child, while another turns his gaze to the viewer. The Child does not look at his mother, but instead seems focused on something further away. St John and the Virgin are absorbed in thought, as if in a state of deep meditation. Botticelli went on to use this iconographic model in various other paintings. The Virgin’s finely painted clothing reflects the fashion of the time. Botticelli’s technical skill is also seen in his handling of the complex task of representing transparent fabric using tempera. The small scale of this painting suggests that it was commissioned for private devotion. Neither the patron nor the original location are known. We know from archival documentation that it was in the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova until 1900. The painting has been displayed in the Galleria dell’Accademia since 1919. It was restored by the Opificio delle Pietre dure in 1979. The most recent conservation work on the painting dates to 2011.



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