(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)

Madonna and Child with Eight Angels

c. 1478
Tempera on panel, diameter 135 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The so-called Raczynski Tondo was named after the private collection of which it was part before being acquired at the end of the 19th century by the Berlin Gemäldegalerie. It is possible that this is the painting that Vasari said hung in the church of San Francesco (now San Salvatore al Monte). There is a strict symmetrical structure to the composition with its life- size figures, and the finely toned down colours are very charming.

Surrounded by eight wingless angels, Mary is breastfeeding her Child. There is direct eye contact with the observer, involving him in the intimate scene. The angels are holding lilies, the sign of Mary's purity, and are engaged in antiphonal singing: while some of them are calmly waiting to start, the others are singing and reverently looking at a hymn book.

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