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Madonna and Child with Angels

Nicola Roccatagliatac. 1600

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Like most sculptors active in Venice, Nicolò Roccatagliata, who specialized in small-scale sculpture, was not a native of the city. This clay relief showing the Madonna and Child with three angels demonstrates not only his mastery in the depiction of children but also the debt he owed to types of composition established by the painter Jacopo Tintoretto. Indeed, the relief is a veritable textbook example of the interaction between painting and sculpture in the sixteenth century. Roccatagliata’s biographer Raffaele Soprani tells of the friendship between the sculptor and Tintoretto, and notes that Roccatagliata made “countless little figures to serve as models” for him, adding that “in his reliefs he followed the manner characteristic of Giacomo’s paintings, while the latter availed himself of the models made by Nicolò and afterwards preserved them as treasures dear to his heart”.

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