Virgin and Child Attended by Angels

Attributed to Filippino Lippi Italian

Not on view

This bold, lively sketch of a Madonna and Child, attended by Angels, was probably preparatory for a painted panel of the same subject. Lippi’s mastery at defining shapes and volumes by controlling the intricate and dense network of lines in pen and ink is clearly evident. Given its similarities to other late drawings by the artist done with a similar technique - see for example the double-sided sheet of studies for a Madonna and Child in the British Museum, London inv. 1946,0713.4 (Popham and Pouncey 1950, no. 63) - the present sheet can be dated to shortly before Filippino died in 1504. When it was still in the Cartwright collection at Aynhoe (United Kingdom), the drawing was originally attributed by Philip Pouncey to Filippino's pupil Raffaellino del Garbo (ca. 1476-1527), an attribution followed by Jacob Bean when the study was acquired by the Museum in 1968. The attribution to Flippino was first proposed by Byam Shaw in 1983 and widely accepted by scholars (see here "References" for the most recent bibliography on the drawing). As pointed out by George Goldner (1997), the study belongs to a sequence of late pen-and-ink drawings that are datable to the last fifteen years of Filippino's life. The earliest securely dated example is the study in Lille made for a sibyl on the vault of the Carafa Chapel (See Bambach and Goldner 1997, no. 49). Others produced during the ensuing years include the Dancing Putto and the British Museum studies of the Virgin and Child, as well as the various drawings for the Pietà (originally intended for the never-executed altarpiece in the Certosa of Pavia) and the Washington, D.C., study of an angel for the altarpiece of 1501 in Bologna ( Bambach and Goldner 1997, nos. 86-88, 107). All share with the present work broad pen lines, animated short, often parallel strokes, notational and sometimes eccentric detailing of hands and feet, and broad use of wash; several also display abstract divisions of faces like those that mark the two angels here. It should be noted that none of these elements of style or draftsmanship occurs in any known drawing by Raffaellino. (FR)

Virgin and Child Attended by Angels, Attributed to Filippino Lippi (Italian, Prato ca. 1457–1504 Florence), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache

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