(Italian, c. 1435-1515)
Overall: 54.6 x 37.2 x 9.5 cm (21 1/2 x 14 5/8 x 3 3/4 in.)
General Income Fund 1920.273
In the later 1400s, artists increasingly infused sacred subject matter with a classical vocabulary. The shallow relief and simplified forms ultimately stemmed from ancient sculpture, bringing gravity as well as novelty to a conventional theme. Yet naturalistic elements such as the baby’s bulging navel, chubby wrists, and shirt pulled up to reveal his genitals all humanize Christ, a critical principle of Christian dogma.
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