- Francesco Botticini
- Madonna and two angels adoring the Christ Child
- oil on panel, arched top
The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 336 West 37th Street, Suite 830, New York, NY 10018, 212-564-4024, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
Despite a good deal of wear and abrasion, this picture has a strong presence thanks to the better-preserved portions. Extensive restoration is recognizable in many areas by its discoloration. The more thinly painted passages and upper glazes have suffered from past strong cleaning, for example in the shadows of the Christ Child's flesh passages where the ground has been exposed. Mary's blue mantle is heavily restored to suppress a network of cracks and significant wear. Restoration glazes augment a faded red lake in Mary's dress and broad scumbling camouflages scattered losses in the sky. Larger restored losses include a portion of the bottom right of Mary's hair and veil, a section of the left angel's curls adjacent to the neck, and an area of a planar deformation at the base of Mary's neck which may indicate a repair to a defect in the panel. Much of the shell gold decorations on the garments and angel's wings are restoration. A few old, stable cracks in the vertically-grained panel following the direction of the grain can be seen from the front and back while scattered cross-grain cracks in the paint are primarily visible in the sky. The panel is comprised of two boards, with the join to the right of the Christ Child's head, and appears to retain its original thickness of approximately 2.5cm. The frame is in sound condition.
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This Madonna and Child is a characteristic work by Francesco Botticini and is typical of the paintings produced for private devotion in Renaissance Florence. The theme of the Madonna adoring the Christ is one the artist returned to numerous times, no doubt a popular request from his patrons.
Botticini joined the thriving workshop of Neri di Bicci (1419-1492) in January 1459 at the age of thirteen. By 1469, he appears to have established his own workshop and, from 1471 onwards, was a member of the confraternity of the Archangel Raphael and, one year later, a member of the confraternity of Saint Luke. In addition to smaller devotional works, Botticini painted a number of large-scale altarpieces such as the Tabernacle of the Sacrament, commissioned in 1484 for the high altar of the Collegiate church of Empoli (now in the Museo della Collegiata de Sant’Andrea, Empoli). Botticini’s style reflects an awareness of a number of the major Florentine artistic personalities of his day, particularly Sandro Botticelli, Filippino Lippi and Andrea del Verrocchio.
Here Botticini follows one of his favorite formats, depicting the Madonna kneeling on the ground in an expansive landscape with the Christ Child resting on the folds of her robes. The artist has included two curly-haired angels, one of whom tenderly supports the infant. The marked influence of Botticelli can be seen in in the graceful figure of the Virgin, with her delicate features and beautifully rendered translucent veil.