Antiques -
Reference: ZF0123

Relief "Virgin with Child and Angels". Italy, XV-XVI centuries.
Bronze in its color and gold, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, enamel.
In the center of the work, the figure of Mary is presented, enthroned, with a mantle on her shoulders and hair and holding the Child on her knees, who appears addressing one of the angels. The Virgin is also sheltered by a conopial arch supported on turned columns, and visually elevated by steps. This composition achieves a very striking contrast: the figure in dark bronze, in contrast to the bottom of lapis lazuli and the part of the arch and the outside of it, in gilded bronze. Under the steps appears an heraldic shield in enamel with a key on a blue background. The kneeling angels find themselves flanking this figure, and, when they appear in dark bronze, they visually share the “category” of religious figures with Mary, while their (lower) position gives greater status to both Mother and Jesus. The rest of the composition is completed with a delicate landscape: buildings and walls over mountains, clouds in the sky, plants, stones, etc. To the outside, there is another lapis lazuli frame decorated in the corners with sconces, giving way to the carved and polychrome wood.
Lapis lazuli is a semiprecious stone already known in the seventh millennium BC. C., found in deposits from the Caucasus to Mauritania. From the end of the Middle Ages, its export to Europe increased, being more frequent its use since then both to use it as a pigment in pictures after grinding it (giving rise to the finest and most expensive of the blues, and of the colors in many occasions ), as for paintings, inlays in works of art, jewelry and, a little later, in the known "hard stone works".
The figure of Mary still shows an influence of Gothic models, although more European than Italian, along with elements that could already show a closeness to the Renaissance: although the nakedness of Jesus is already shown in Gothic works (Madonna with angels of Fra Angelico ), the creation of space by playing with the cloth in front of Christ can be seen in more advanced paintings (Virgin with Child by Domenico Ghirlandaio, National Gallery, London); The presence of a powerful throne can often be seen in Italian Madonnas of Quattrocento (and before), but not quite as presented here. As for the landscape, it is necessary to compare it, for example, with that of the Condotiero Guidoriccio de Fogliano (Simone Martini, finished in 1328).
This is a work of great technical and aesthetic quality, not to mention the materials chosen for its creation, comparable only to outstanding examples from around the world, such as those preserved in the Madama Palace in Torino (Italy), in which the coral It also has an important role. They are also essential to mention works such as the hard stone plate (lapis lazuli among them) with a relief of Mary with the Child in bronze, made around 1580-1600 in Italy and preserved at the Art Institute of Chicago; or the “Panorama della Piazza della Signoria” (Jacopo Bilivert, ca. 1599) of the Pitti Museum; or the "Banquet of the Gods", which follows a design by Guglielmo della Porta, preserved in the Metropolitan Museum in New York."

· Size: 20x22,5x3,5

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