Botticelli

A 'tondo' in Piacenza

By Musei Civici di Palazzo Farnese

Madonna adoring the Child and little Saint John (1475/1480) by Alessandro Filipepi called Il BotticelliMusei Civici di Palazzo Farnese

The provenance of this painting is unknown. The first records date back to an inventory of 1642, relating to the property of Federico II Landi di Bardi. When in 1860 the fortress of Bardi, where the tondo was kept, became state, it was transferred to the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Turin. It merged into the collections of the Municipality of Piacenza in 1862, thanks to the mayor of the Emilian city Fausto Perletti.

The subject is a Virgin who adores the Child in the presence of Saint Little John .

In the lower part of the composition a marble balustrade is represented, on which is written the word QUIA RESPESIT HUMILITATE ANCILE SUE (Because he saw the humility of his servant)

The Virgin is kneeling and she joins her hands in a sign of veneration.
She wears the typical clothes of Marian iconography: the red garment and the blue cloak.
The head is covered by a transparent and light veil
Her face is softly touched by the light.

The Child is lying on the edges of the Virgin's garment and mantle , on some cut roses.
His unusual gesture could allude to his circumcision.

Saint Little John can be identified by the camel skin used as a garment and a simple thin cross.

The scene takes place in a flowery meadow, between two hedges of roses.
In the background there is a landscape that recalls the atmospheric Leonardesque painting.

The carved and gilded frame is original. The central strip is adorned with festoons with intertwined pomegranates, pine cones, ears and lance-shaped leaves. It is attributed to Giuliano da Maiano's workshop.

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