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“The Virgin and the Child in a Niche” by Sandro Botticelli

La Virgen y el Niño en un nicho, Sandro Botticelli y taller 01

“The Virgin and the Child in a Niche” by Sandro Botticelli

“The Virgin and the Child in a Niche” by Sandro Botticelli portrays the Madonna and Child in an intimate and playful composition. Botticelli’s Virgins are always beautiful, in the same idealised way as his mythological figures, and often richly dressed in contemporary style. In this version, we can see the Madonna tickling the Child with the forefinger of her right hand, and the Child’s toe appears to respond in a very naturalistic way to his mother’s playful gesture.

La Virgen y el Niño en un nicho, Sandro Botticelli y taller 03

Paintings of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus were enormously popular in 15th-century Italy. Botticelli and his workshop produced many “Virgin and the Child” art pieces in different compositions and several versions often with the elements other than the Virgin and Child different. When interest in Botticelli’s art revived in the 19th century, it was initially mainly in his Madonnas, which then began to be forged on a considerable scale.

Botticelli was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance who belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici. His mythological masterpieces are his best-known works today. However, he painted a range of religious subjects and portraits. He and his workshop were primarily known for their many beautiful Madonna and Child paintings. He lived all his life in the same neighbourhood of Florence, and his only significant time elsewhere was the few months he spent painting in Pisa in 1474 and his work at the Sistine Chapel in Rome in 1481–82.

Reflections

  • Did Botticelli prefer mythological or religious subjects for his paintings?
  • Do you prefer Botticelli’s mythological or religious paintings?
  • What makes Botticelli paintings masterpieces?

Exploring Botticelli

The Virgin and the Child in a Niche

  • Title:                        The Virgin and the Child in a Niche
  • Español:                  La Virgen y el Niño en un nicho
  • Italiano:                  Madonna col Bambino in una nicchia
  • Artist:                      Sandro Botticelli
  • Year:                        1476
  • Dimensions            81.3 × 55.2 cm (32 × 21.7 in)
  • Museum:                 Museo Soumaya

Sandro Botticelli

  • Name:                     Sandro Botticelli
  • Birth Name:          Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi
  • Born:                      c. 1445 – Florence, Republic of Florence, (now Italy)
  • Died:                       May 17, 1510 (aged c. 64) – Florence, Republic of Florence
  • Nationality:           Italian
  • Movement:            Italian Renaissance
  • Notable works:

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    “There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” Leonardo da Vinci

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    Photo Credit: Museo Soumaya [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0), Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons