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Figure; Madonna and Child
Pietro di Niccolò Lamberti (Italian, 1393-1435)
Carved istrian stone with traces of polychrome
Centimetres: 58.4 (length), 151.2 (height), 40.7 (width)
Early Renaissance
Area of Origin: Venice, Italy
Area of Use: Padua ?; Italy; Western Europe; Europe
Samuel European Galleries

Description: Images of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus evolved from prototypes that existed as early as the late second to early third century AD, and increased dramatically in Western European art during the High and Late Middle Ages (thirteenth to fifteenth century AD). These representations testify to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, the belief that God assumed human form in the person of the child Jesus, born of a virgin mother. The ROM’s stone sculptures of the Virgin and child date mainly from the Gothic era (thirteenth to early sixteenth century AD) and were dear to the heart of Charles T. Currelly, the ROM’s founding director, who acquired three of them for the Museum.

The Virgin and Child in this image is of Istrian origin and is attributed to the sculptor, Pietro Lamberti (AD c. 1393-1435), who was active in Florence and Venice in the late 1300s and early 1400s. Pietro Lamberti’s recorded sculptural works include the 1423 tomb of Doge Tommaso Mocenigo, in Venice’s church of S.S. Giovanni e Paolo, and the Fulgosio tomb erected between 1429 and 1431 in the Santo at Padua. Research work by Anne Markham Schulz on the stylistic comparisons between the ROM’s sculpture and the various details of the figure carving for the Mocenigo and Fulgosio tombs confirm its attribution, and suggest a date for it between those of the two tombs. In spite of its late date, traces of Late Gothic style and influence remain. The sculpture is a transitional work, evolving towards a new style while retaining features of the older.

Object History: Supposedly from a church in Padua, but with no documentation to that effect. If it is from Padua, the group should date to about 1429-1430 when Pietro Lamberti was active there. There is no record of the provenance prior to the purchase of the sculpture in 1938 from the Brummer Gallery in New York.

Exhibit History: The Virgin and Child sculpture has been on display since its acquisition in 1938. It was also exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts 1938.

Publications: Keeble, Corey K, "Sculpture and the Virgin". Rotunda. Vol. 32, No. 2, Fall/Winter (Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1999) pp. 22-27. Schulz, Anne Markham (1986)" Revising the history of Venetian Renaissance Sculpture: Niccolo and Pietro Lamberti," Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore

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