This theme was covered in the 15th century by artists such as Flemish master Rogier van der Weyden and other famous artists. A Madonna is the representation of Mary with her child Jesus. The image is a central icon for Orthodox and Catholic churches, and it is a very prevalent Christian iconography. The statue or picture of Mary enters English usage in the 17th century.
One of the earliest representations of the painting of Madonna with seated child is the wall painting in the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. In this artwork, the seated Madonna suckles a child who has turned his head to gaze at a spectator. In the Eastern, some of the pictures show Madonna enthroned, and wearing a closed Byzantine pearl-encrusted crown that has pedants with Jesus on her lap. In the West, there are a variety of types of this picture with an intention to satisfy a flood of forms of piety that is more intense. In earlier forms, the representations show Mary who is enthroned and the child Jesus raising his hands to bless her.
Andrea del Verrocchio was one of the greatest sculptors as well as a painter who worked in precious metals and relief. With such a versatility that is found even in these two dimensions, the painter of Madonna and the Child has a sense of outreach, the oblique and exchange. Some of the biggest parts of the painter-sculptor's concerns are the keen concern for light's passage and exploration of landscape. The picture of Madonna and the seated child show a great fascination for the mysterious coils of twisted veils and drapery, for the dynamic that is found even in the row of ties along Madonna's sleeve. All these speak of the new role for the artist that is enhanced by technical virtuosity and variety.
Verrocchio who was one of the earliest sculptors, draftsman and painter ran one of the most prestigious workshops in Florence. He ran the workshop in the last 3rd of the fifteenth century. He has associates in this workshop who were named Botticelli and young Leonardo. One of the greatest works Andrea del Verrocchio did was painting the Madonna with seated child. The picture is of fine quality and it is based on a design by Andrea. The Madonna with seated child picture dates about 1470. However, Madonna's face is badly damaged but some of the passages such as the head of the child convey the painting's original quality.
The painting was done in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence, Italian between 1435-1488. The medium of the picture is tempera and gold on wood. It has a dimension of 25 x 19 in (66 x 48.3 cm).
Exhibition History of the Picture
Winter Exhibition, London. Royal Academy of Arts. January 7-March 16, 1895, no. 147 (by Andrea del Verrocchio and lent by Charles Butler).
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan, New York. November 7, 1952- September 7, 1953, no. 77 (by Andrea del Verrocchio).
Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. June 15-August 15, 1971. (no catalogue).
The frame of the original painting is a late 15th century tabernacle frame, mostly Venetian that has a gilt pastiglia (raised gesso) decoration that is greatly repaired. The frame lacks its base moulding and has some replacement pieces which would have definitely been heavier. Andrea del Verrocchio was a great inspiration to many artists and one exemplary artist he taught was Leonardo de Vinci. Even up to the present day, many artists still look up to his work and the masterpiece of Madonna with the seated child is still particularly famous.