The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
Florence, the early 16th century
Oil on wood
This is a copy of a fresco which Andrea del Sarto painted for an outdoor tabernacle near one of the medieval gates of Florence.
The fresco was painted in 1520 and was about 1.9 metres high with a rounded top. This copy in oil is therefore much reduced. The original painting was situated above eye level, which explains why the holy figures look down at us. The outdoor setting meant that the fresco was reduced to a ruinous condition by the 19th century, leaving this as an important record.
Purchased 1946 (No.46.1)