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Virgin and Child with Four Angels and Two Cherubim, c. 1470-75

Francesco Botticini

Italian, 1446-1497
Tempera on panel
25-3/4 x 19-1/2 in. (65.4 x 49.5 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1965.1.009.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Because of his eclectic style, Botticini’s identity (and name) was rediscovered only in the second half of the nineteenth century. Early twentieth-century scholars variously attributed this painting to an anonymous painter of the fifteenth century from the Umbrian or Florentine schools. By 1907, the art historian Bernard Berenson dubbed it a work by Francesco Botticini, the early Florentine Renaissance painter whose style derives from several other Florentine artists, most importantly Andrea del Verrocchio (1435–88), Sandro Botticelli (1444/45–1510), and Filippino Lippi (1457–1504), but also from the Umbrian Pietro Perugino (1446–1523). Botticini had a productive workshop that included his son Raffaello (1477–after 1520).

During Duveen’s ownership in the 1930s, the panel was worked on by the conservator Stephen Picchetto, who favored using very thick resins and varnishes to mask distortions and uneven surfaces due to damage or heavy retouching. Most of this heavy coating was removed in the 1980s, where losses in the background on the right were revealed, as well as a number of badly worn areas in the Madonna’s face. However, despite these losses, most experts agree today that the painting is by Botticini, an artist whose work is represented in fewer than a dozen American museums.

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