Madonna and Child
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Workshop of Paolo Uccello
Italian, 1470 - 1475
Tempera on panel
Framed [with original engaged frame]: 21 x 16 1/2 in.

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This delicately modeled Madonna and Child displays a type of hushed beauty lost with the advent of the High Renaissance style in Italy. Once artists began using one-point perspective to present landscapes, architecture, and figures in three well-rounded dimensions, painting became a window on the physical world rather than merely the spiritual one.

In an effort to "open up" the scene, the artist from Paolo Uccello's workshop placed a landscape behind the Virgin and Christ. Instead of trying to show depth, however, the countryside simply forms a pattern of almost abstract trees and zigzags. The resulting design has a flatness and regularity that subtly enlivens the picture and complements the elusive three-dimensionality of the figure group.

An earlier owner of this painting partly rubbed off the Madonna's bronze halo during a cleaning, perhaps assuming that there would be gold underneath.