The Madonna and Child
By Botticelli

The Madonna and Child
By Botticelli (1444?-1510)
In The National Gallery, London

Not the least interesting fact to be noted in connection with Botticelli is the rise and decline of his popularity in his own day, and its rise again in the Victorian era, when artistic and literary tastes were revised by the great men of that time during what was virtually a new Renaissance.

In 1602 the Grand Duke of Tuscany issued a decree prohibiting the exportation of "the masterpieces of eminent painters." A list of these painters was given, but the name of the once popular Botticelli was not mentioned. So recently as 1867 a Botticelli was acquired at an auction for 20 pounds by D.G. Rossetti, to whom, with Burne-Jones, Ruskin, and Pater, the revival of interest in this painter was due.

Looking at the picture of "The Madonna and Child," seated at the open window, one is reminded of the youthfulness of the Madonna, and impressed, from a technical view-point, by the metallic gold of her hair and head-dress, which is an outstanding characteristic of the picture at a casual view. It is generally understood that the Virgin was fourteen years of age at the time when she gave birth to the infant Jesus; certainly she was not more than fifteen. Botticelli helps us to realise her youthfulness, and invests her with a melancholy sweetness which is most touching to the beholder. The bright gold in the picture is a peculiarity of Botticelli's work, and is due to his early training as a goldsmith. Noteworthy, also, is the careful detail of the scarf and dress.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Famous Paintings