(b. 1445, Siena, d. 1500, Siena)

Madonna and Child between St Jerome and St Bernardino of Siena

c. 1476
Tempera and gold on panel, 98 x 52 cm (with original frame)
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

Around the turn of the 1460s and '70s, Neroccio and Francesco di Giorgio created together a new, blonde and ethereal female ideal in Sienese painting, of which this Madonna is an especially beautiful example.

In this composition, a slender and long-necked Virgin holds before her the Child, who looks up at his mother while blessing and supporting himself on the armrest of the throne. The sweeping outline of Mary's gold-edged cloak, sharply delineated against the gold ground, still follows the Ducciesque tradition, but signs of receptivity to the new style can be discerned in every detail of the picture. The vigorous figure of the Child was inspired by the reliefs of Donatello, who spent the last years of his life in Siena.

Regarding the composition, the starting point for Neroccio's work was the Madonna type created by Sano di Pietro at the middle of the century.

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