This low relief of the Virgin and the Child, attributed to Desiderio da Settignano, is a perfect illustration of schiacciato rilievo, a technique of such finely graded relief that the surface is almost flat. Only a low-angled light can reveal the delicate contours and bring out all the subtleties of the drapery carved in the marble.
The short career of this Florentine artist (circa 1430-1464) was influenced by the energetic art of Donatello who was his master. He was active in Florence where he enjoyed an excellent reputation. He headed a workshop with his brother and received important commissions, such as the tomb of Carlo Marsuppini, the Chancellor of the Florentine Republic.
He also sculpted more intimate works, an example being this small low relief, which demonstrates his delicate handling of figures, a style that is far removed from the more vigorous aesthetics of Donatello.
Stainless included for wall
Reproduction in patinated resin.
Depth: 2 cm
Weight: 1.4 kg
Origin: Samuel H. Kress Collection
Museum: Washington - National Gallery of Art
Artist: Desiderio da Settignano (1428-1463)