BON, Bartolomeo
(active 1421-1464 in Venice)

Virgin and Child

Istrian stone, carved from six blocks, 252 x 208 x 50 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This relief depicting the Virgin and Child with kneeling members of the Guild of the Misericordia was carved by Bartolomeo Bon for the tympanum over the principal doorway of the Scuola Vecchia di Santa Maria della Misericordia in Venice. The sculpture was originally painted and slight traces of blue paint remain in the background. The Virgin once wore a high crown. The motif of the Christ Child in a mandorla on the Virgin's chest is of Byzantine origin and occurs on other works produced in Venice around this date.

The Venetian 'Scuola', or confraternity, commissioned this sculpture to sit over the entrance to their meeting house. Members of the confraternity shelter under the Virgin's cloak. Surrounding the Virgin are prophets seated in the Tree of Jesse. They hold scrolls announcing the Coming of Christ, who is shown as a baby on the Virgin's breast. The pointed arch reflects the Gothic style of the original setting. Bartolomeo Bon was a member of the confraternity and one of the most important sculptors in Renaissance Venice.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.