Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist (1480/1490) by Alesandro di Mariano Filipepi, Sandro Botticelli y tallerMuseo Soumaya.Fundación Carlos Slim
Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist belonged to the Botticelli family.
This artwork, which is housed in the Soumaya Museum, has formed part of important European collections. At the end of the 19th century, it belonged to a family in Arezzo, Italy.
We know that in 1906 it belonged to Lord Grimthorpe and by 1914, C. Fairfax Murray sold it to the renowned Georges Petit Gallery in Paris. Other figures have been listed as proprietors, such as Sir Ernest Cassel and Jacob Heimann.
This tondo or circular board highlights the beautiful, foreshortened, child-like figure of John the Baptist. In his hand he holds a phylactery that reads Agnus Dei, which references the Savior as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
After studying several versions, researcher Lionello Venturi declared that the face of this Madonna is one of the most glorious compositions of Botticelli.
The model may have been the beautiful Simonetta Vespucci. Nobles and artists of the Humanist medium paid homage to the beauty of this young woman, including Sandro Botticelli, the Domenico brothers, Davide Ghirlandaio, and Piero di Cosimo
The Madonna wears fine red robes and is covered by a sky blue mantle, whose iconography is a reference to martyrdom and the protection of the Holy Spirit.
Extract from Monthly Magazine January 2017 and March 2019.