These five statues, of supreme quality of craftsmanship, come from a façade of a Renaissance house in Mantua situated at Via Frattini 5, which is stylistically influenced by Fancelli.
Made in terracotta with traces of polychrome, the sculptures were once set between the niches at the top of the façade but in 1958 they were removed and replaced with copies. The originals on display here can be attributed to an anonymous sculptor from the Lombardy-Veneto region, who was active in the second half of the 15th century and may have associated with the circle of pupils of Donatello in Padua.
As early as the time of the great exhibition on Andrea Mantegna curated by Paccagnini, the group at least mixed with the workshop of Mantegna, if not with the great master directly.
Originally intended to be admired from a low perspective, the sculptures boast openly expressive features alongside a more elegant, classical style. We might thus conclude that it is the work of two separate artists: one who worked on the figures of the Enunciating Angel, the Madonna of the Annunciation and St. Paul, distinguished by a softer classicism that is closer to the Tuscan tradition, and one for St. Peter and the Evangelist, which present a more persistent expressiveness reminiscent of the style of Mantegna or Donatello.
Perhaps the most moving figure is that of the Virgin, who appears withdrawn and overwhelmed by the power of the Annunciation.