DonatelloFirst third of the 15th century

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The ascription of this Madonna and Child group, notable for the powerful physical presence of the figures, is disputed. The artists who have been proposed include (apart from Nanni di Banco) the pioneering masters of Tuscan sculpture in the Early Renaissance: Jacopo della Quercia, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello. One feature, among others, that argues for Donatello is the consistent way in which folds of cloth no longer function as a means of expression, as in the Gothic, but instead, following the laws of gravity, articulate the contours of the body. The sharp outlines and the rendering of detail recall Donatello’s famous bronze David. Since the group was damaged by fire in May 1945, a part of the veil behind the head of the Christ Child is been missing.

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