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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.

This work is currently on display.

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