(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)
Marble, 75 x 70 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
The half-length relief shows that Donatello could express tenderness and intimacy. Its youthful style, seen in details like the baby's foreshortened foot, suggests a date in the 1420s or 1430s. Its melancholy and idealized types are indebted to ancient sculpture like Greek "stelai". The Madonna gazes penetratingly into her son's eyes, foreseeing his death. The seemingly casual yet powerful genre scene is carved with economy - the haloes have been eliminated, an innovation not generally adopted until the next century. The relief was meant to be seen from below, revealing Donatello's interest in the spectator's point of view.