Lombard master, Virgin and Child

Author Lombard master (Giovanni da Roma (?)
Title Virgin and Child
Date Circa 1440
Material terracota
Size 26,7х21 cm
Workshop Objects Conservation

This small terracotta relief originally came from Milan, it was given as a gift to the Berlin Museums in 1892 by an unidentified person. The relief shows Madonna and Child surrounded by angels. Before it came to the museum, its left corner (now missing) had been broken off and then filled in, the relief was placed in a frame and was stained to imitate bronze (the colour was lost due to the fire). At the moment of acquisition, it was attributed to a Florentine sculptor. Later, in a Frida Shotmüller catalogue the relief was characterized as a North Italian work. The object similar in style to the works of so-called "Master of Capella Pellegrini", today corresponding with the name of Michele da Firenze (1385-1455), is also interesting due to a large number of replications available in museum collections (Milan, the Archeological Museum; Cremona, Ala Ponzoni Museum; Marseille, the Ricard collection; Budapest, the Museum of Fine Arts; and others; a painted version (Vigevano) and a version in Della Robbia technique (Viadana) are also known).

Adolfo Venturi (1908) was of the opinion that a sculptor from Cremona could be the author of the relief. It is not conflicting with the recent opinion of Aldo Galli (2018) that it could have been made by Giovanni da Roma. According to the existing documents, Giovanni da Roma worked in Cremona and Parma from 1443 to 1450.

One thing cannot be underestimated: the lost left corner in some form can be seen in many known replicas which are dated not earlier than the end of the 19th century, which may characterize them as copies.