(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)

Madonna with the Child

c. 1448
Bronze, height 160 cm
Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padua

This statute was executed for the High Altar of the Basilica.

The Madonna is represented as an arcane priestess rising from between the faces of two smiling sphinxes at the base of her throne. It is probable that for this unusual representation of the Virgin, so oriental in feeling, neither seated nor standing but caught in the moment of rising, Donatello was inspired by some Byzantine icon or even a piece of Etruscan statuary.