A Survey of 15th Century Italian Renaissance Sculptures of the Madonna

Talk of Madonnas of the Renaissance, especially Italian ones, and one almost instinctually turns one's thoughts to the realm of painting, especially to the works of artists like Botticelli, Raphael, Da Vinci and so on. However, another whole realm in this regard is that of sculptural work. 

The Renaissance, as its name suggests, denotes a "rebirth" coming with reference to the classical world. In the realm of the visual arts, it sought to learn from and emulate the elegance and naturalism of classical examples. At the same time, it was also period that sat in immediate proximity to the antecedent medieval period and so it is the case too that we can frequently still find echoes of the middle ages as well.

Today I wanted to give a brief survey of some fifteenth century Italian sculptures of the Madonna, leaning toward examples which either are trending toward, or find themselves outright sitting within the classical direction that all art, including sacred art, was moving toward at that time.  These particular examples begin to show a classical refinement that we now almost take for granted, one that reigned nearly supreme until the advent of more primitivist styles and tastes that were promoted and popularized in much art, whether sacred or secular, in the twentieth century. 

There's little more to say other than to invite you to look at and enjoy the particular elegance and beauty of these sculptural works. In future articles, we will take a look at some other periods and consider how these styles developed -- or regressed -- over the different centuries.

15th century, painted terracotta

Circa 1450-1500. Painted terracotta.

Circa 1490-1500. Painted terracotta.

Circa 1490-1500. Painted terracotta.

Circa 1490-1510, stone. 

Circa 1450-1500, painted, gilt wood.

15th century. Sicily.

15th century, carved, painted and gilt wood.

Circa 1450-1500, painted stone. 

15th or 16th century, marble. Sicily.

Circa 1440-1460, carved wood

Circa 1483, carved Carrara marble. 

Sculpture by Donatello. Circa 1415-1420. Painted terracotta.

Circa 1490-1502, carved wood.

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