Virgin and Child
Florence, between 1444 and 1445 - Florence, 1510
1470, oil on wood, 62 x 48 cm
Italian Museum – Florentine Gallery
When Nélie Jacquemart bought this work in Florence, she believed she had acquired a painting by Andrea Verrocchio, the great foreman who ran the Republic of the Arts in Florence around the 1470s. This opinion was very quickly disputed without another name being put forward. The attribution became obvious after an inventory was established of all the virgins with the child similar to that of Verrocchio, and after an in-depth study of the beginnings of the young Botticelli in this illustrious workshop. After restoration in 1995, the sumptuous relief of the skin and the elegance of the details such as the veil, the jewellery and the locks of hair were discovered. The simplicity of the composition and the serene expression on the faces indeed confirm the attribution to a young Botticelli.
When the work was bought by Nélie Jacquemart, it was covered by repainting and thick layers of varnish. It was custom at the time to touch up works of art to give them a new lease of life.