MASTER of Pratovecchio
(active 1435-1455 in Florence)

Madonna and Child with Six Angels

1440s
Tempera on wood, 65 x 43 cm
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

In Florence in the first half of the fifteenth century the market for devotional images was dominated by sculpture, not painting. Consequently, sculptural reliefs exerted a profound influence on painted compositions of the Madonna and Child. The present painting by the Master of Pratovecchio faithfully repeats the features of a terracotta relief by the sculptor Michele da Firenze, who worked on Ghiberti's first set of doors for the Florence Baptistery. The composition of the relief on which this painting is based has a strongly Gothic flavour, with the Virgin seated beneath a tent-like canopy, form the apex of which a half-length figure of God the Father emerges, with angels piled up at the sides.