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Virgin adoring the Child with the young St John the Baptist

BOTTICELLI, Alessandro (1447 - 1510)

Virgin adoring the Child with the young St John the Baptist

Media: oil on board

Size: 86.4 cm

Acquired: 1952; Bequest; Gwendoline Davies

Accession Number: NMW A 241

Collection: The Davies Sisters Collection

Mary kneels in adoration of the infant Christ. To her right, John the Baptist stands, holding his crook and a ribbon. John the Baptist is included as the forerunner of Christ linking the Old and New Testaments and as a patron Saint of Florence. The picture’s round shape – tondo - is probably derived from the shape of ‘birth trays’, painted plates traditionally presented to a mother after childbirth.  These were frequently decorated with pictures of the Virgin. Botticelli was one of the most sought after painters in late fifteenth-century Florence. Several versions of this composition exist, including one in the National Gallery, London. Although it is of very high quality, this work was probably painted by an assistant.

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