Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Drawing - The Virgin and Child
  • The Virgin and Child
    Desiderio da Settignano, born 1430 - died 1464
  • Enlarge image

The Virgin and Child

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Desiderio da Settignano, born 1430 - died 1464 (artist)
    Baccio Bandinelli, born 1488 - died 1560 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pen and bistre

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case PD, shelf 261

Physical description

Drawing of the Virgin and Child

Place of Origin

Florence (made)


16th century (made)


Desiderio da Settignano, born 1430 - died 1464 (artist)
Baccio Bandinelli, born 1488 - died 1560 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

pen and bistre


Height: 9.625 in, Width: 6 in

Descriptive line

Manner of Baccio Bandinelli. Virgin and Child, after the Desiderio da Settignano relief (A.84-1927). Florentine school, 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Ward-Jackson, Peter, Italian Drawings. Volume I. 14th-16th century, London, 1979, pp. 34-35

The following is the full text of the entry:

school of

Seated Virgin, with the Child on her knees, in profile
Pen and ink
9 ¾ x 6 (248 x 152) E.603-1936

PROVENANCE Benjamin West (Lugt 419); Dr H. Wellesley; F. T. Palgrave; J. P. Heseltine; Henry Oppenheimer (sale, Christie, 10 July 1936, lot 19; bought by
the Museum)

LITERATURE W. Bode, Italienische Bildhauer der Renaissance, Berlin, 1887, p. 57; J. Strzygowski, 'Studien zu Michelangelos Jugendentwicklung' in Prussian Jahrbuch, 12,1891, pp. 211-14 (with pI.); H. Woelffiin, 'Florentinische Madonnenreliefs' in Zeitschrift [iir bildende Kunst, N.S., 4, 1893, pp. 107-II; W. Bode, Florentiner Bildhauer der Renaissance, Berlin, 1902, pp. 193-202; Original drawings by old masters of the Italian School forming part of the collection ofJ.P.H., 1913, no. 21; Henry Thode, Michelangelo. Kritische Untersuchungen ... , Berlin, 3, 1913, P.164; E. de Liphart, 'Le Sculpteur Francesco Ferrucci' in Gazette des Beaux Arts, 5th period, 9, 1924, pp. 3-7 (with pl.); Vasari Society, Reproductions of Drawings, 2nd series, part 5, 1924, no. 4; E. Ybl, 'La Madone du Musee Calvet d'Avignon' in Gazette des Beaux Arts, 6, 1931, pp. 298-306; Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of Italian Sculpture, by E. Maclagan and M. H. Longhurst, 1932, p. 42; C. L. Ragghianti in Critica d'Arte, 3, 1938, pp. 175-77; Charles de Tolnay, The Youth of Michelangelo, Princeton, 1943, pp. 129-30; Pope-Hennessy and Lightbown, I, p. 139

The drawing is a copy after a bas-relief which exists in several versions, notably in the marble in the V&A Museum (no. A.841927); described and illustrated by Maclagan and Longhurst, loc. cit., and by Pope-Hennessy and Lightbown. Another version of the relief (illustrated in most of the works quoted above) was formerly in the Dreyfus Collection in Paris and is now in a private American collection. The relief is usually attributed to Desiderio da Settignano, though Woelffiin maintained that the Dreyfus version was a copy of a later work, dating from about 1500, and de Liphart suggested it was by Francesco Ferrucci. The finer version of the relief in our Museum was hardly known until it was acquired by the Museum in 1927.

The traditional attribution of the drawing was to Donatello. Bode was the first to point out its connection with the Dreyfus relief. Observing an affinity between the relief and Michelangelo’s Madonna della Scala in the casa Buonarroti, he suggested that Michelangelo had made the drawing as a record and afterwards used it as a model in the composition of his marble relief. This opinion was upheld by Strzygowski and Thode and, as late as 1925, by de Liphart.

In reality, apart from a superficial resemblance in the method of hatching, the drawing reveals none of Michelangelo’s qualities as a draftsman, and Woelfflin was nearer the truth in attributing it to the school of Baccio Bandinelli. In support of this opinion he published (loc. cit., p. 110) a drawing by Bandinelli of the Holy Family in the Uffizi (no. 1527), in which the Virgin and Child bear some resemblance with the group in our drawing, and were doubtless inspired by the same bas-relief. A drawing on the Louvre attributed to Bandinelli and published by E. de Liphart in Beaux-Arts, 2, 1924, p. 278, bears a still closer resemblance to our darwing, being likewise a copy after one of the evrisons of the relief, with the addition of some attaendants angels. The method of hatching suggests Bandinelli. But in other respects, this drawing, like ours, is below Bandinelli’s usual standard. Another drawing in the Museum, later in date and poorer in quality, is based on the same composition. (See no. 513 below). A drawing in the Uffizi attributed to Scedone shows yet another variant of the same theme, this time copied from a marble relieft in the Kaiser Friedrichsmuseum, Berlin. Both the drawing and the relief are illustrated by Giusta Nicco Fassola in ‘Bassorilievi donatelleschi nel museo Calvet’ in Critica d’Arte, 3, 1956, figs. 291 and 293.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1936, London: Board of Education, 1937.


Pen; Bistre




Drawings; Sculpture; Biblical Imagery; Christianity; Reliefs; Religion


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.