The J. Paul Getty Museum

Madonna and Child with an Angel

Object Details


Madonna and Child with an Angel


Unknown maker, Venice




Venice, Italy (Place Created)


early 1500s



Object Number:



15.6 × 11.1 × 6 cm (6 1/8 × 4 3/8 × 2 3/8 in.)

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Object Description

Precious objects of this type were recorded in inventories of church treasuries and collectors cabinets. These rooms or series of rooms held unusual or intricate arrangements of rocks, shells, ivory, clocks, or microscopes, displaying the wonders of nature and science. Scholars and wealthy patrons collected intricate objects such as this carving to display in their collections and for private devotion.

An unknown sculptor carved this extraordinary work from a single mass of chalcedony, a type of quartz favored by gem engravers. The folds of the Madonna's cloak form a fluid frame that surrounds and encloses the Christ child, angel, and orb against her breast. The sculptor used the red matrix of the chalcedony mass to highlight specific parts of the image, such as the cross, the angel's wing, the gospels, and the edge of the cloth.

Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen (November 13, 2001 to February 3, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2001 to February 3, 2002
The Color of Life (March 6 to June 23, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), March 6 to June 23, 2008