BENEDETTO DA MAIANO (1442– 1497), after. Madonna with child and John the Baptist flanked by two seraphim and below, the head of a cherub. Terracotta with partial painting, c. 1490 or later. x  cm.


The original marble relief by Bendetto Maiano executed around 1490 is now lost. Around forty stucco copies are known, and a few made in terracotta. In many, the cherub is missing, which was probably an additional feature replicated from the altar of St Fina in the Collegiata of San Gimignano, sculpted by Benedetto da Maiano in 1475.

The copies in the Museo Bardini in Florence, the Victoria & Albert Museum, display slight differences in a few folds and in the hair of the Madonna, with a strand of hair outside of the veil, instead of being tucked in behind it. Another terracotta copy, sold at Pandolfini 05.18.2016, lot 36, shows the same strand of hair but does not include the figure of John the Baptist. these versions seem to relate to the same family.

Some copies, such as the one in Villa la Quiete, deviate further from the original, and the popular maiolica products from Deruta show an entirely different derivation, and the difference to modern time copies is clearly shown by a gypsum relief offered by Hargesheimer 03.12.2022, lot 3266.

Another terracotta copy, sold for 22000 € at Dorotheum 02.06.2021, lot 924, correspond exactly to our relief, and the two were probably produced more or less simultaneously.

Despite discrete cracks, this is a most appealing artwork with tasteful coulouring.

Provenance: Dr Alessandro Falassi (1945-2014), Siena

Art Gallery in Vinci, Tuscany

Private Swedish aristocratic collection

Literature: Carl, Doris. Benedetto da Maiano. A Florentine Sculptor at the Threshold of the High Renaissance. Turnhout, Brepols 2006




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