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Maker(s):Rossellino, Antonio
Culture:Italian (1427 - 1479)
Title:The Virgin of the Candelabra
Date Made:1st half 15th century
Type:Sculpture
Materials:cast with polychrome
Place Made:Italy
Measurements:overall: 29 1/2 x 20 1/4 in.; 74.93 x 51.435 cm
Narrative Inscription:  unsigned, undated
Accession Number:  SC 1927.2.2
Credit Line:Gift of Sir Joseph Duveen
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art
1927_2_1.jpg

Currently on view

Description:
bas relief of the Virgin holding seated Child on her lap near proper right arm with candelabra visible behind figures; woman; boy; religion - Christian

Label Text:
In 1927 the influential art dealer Joseph Duveen gave the Smith College Museum two framed stucco reliefs attributed to the early Italian Renaissance artist Antonio Rossellino. The Virgin of the Candelabra, shown here, retains much of its original polychromy. It was subsequently determined that the other relief, a Virgin and Child, was probably a surmoulage (that is, a cast made from another relief) painted with modern pigments.

In a recent survey of the museum’s frames, Laurence Kanter, currently Curator of Early European Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, identified this tabernacle style frame as one of the most important early Renaissance frames of its type in this country. When it was received in 1927, it surrounded the Virgin and Child, while the period relief was enclosed in a pastiche frame. The decision was made to remove the frames from the reliefs and exchange them. The tabernacle frame, which now surrounds the Virgin of the Candelabra, was first sent for treatment to the Williamstown Conservation Laboratory.

Laurence Kanter suggests that the Virgin of the Candelabra, which he believes to be one of the finest surviving examples of this relief, may have been purchased by Duveen from the sale of the Aynard collection in Paris in 1913.

Other label: This relief sculpture of the Madonna and Child was made to inspire intimate prayer in either a private setting, such as the bedroom of a family home, or in a more public location, such as the side chapel of a church.

The Madonna, flanked by a pair of candelabra in the background, wears a robe that was fashionable in fifteenth-century Florence, Italy. Seated on her lap is the Christ child, who clutches a small bird in both hands. The bird is most likely a goldfinch, which is a symbol of the Passion or sufferings of Christ. Legend has it that a goldfinch plucked a thorn out of the crown of thorns at the crucifixion.

Tags:
women; children; boys

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=SC+1927.2.2

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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