Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This painting belongs to a series of images, inspired by a sculpture by Donatello, that proliferated in 15th-century Florence. In keeping with the Renaissance revival of Classical antiquity, a fictive tabernacle composed of Ionic columns supporting an entablature frames the monumental figures. The artist employs linear perspective and foreshortening to achieve a sense of three-dimensionality, as seen in the shadow on the stone wall and the child’s extended foot. The downcast eyes of the figures indicate that this painting was probably placed high, perhaps over a door, to complete the illusion that the figures were projecting into the viewer’s space.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Master of Pratovecchio (Giovanni di Francesco?), Italian (1450 - )
The Virgin and Child
Work Type
c. 1450-1475
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Tuscany
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2540, European Art, 13th–16th century, The Renaissance
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Tempera on panel
sight: 78.74 x 65.09 cm (31 x 25 5/8 in.)
framed: 107.95 x 79.69 x 6.99 cm (42 1/2 x 31 3/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Hans Schwarz, Vienna, sold [through Rudolph Lepke, Berlin, November 8-9, 1910, lot 22, as by Giovanni Boccati]. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lehman, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1927
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lehman
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Sammlung Hans Schwarz, Wien: Werke der Bildenden Kunst und des Kunstgewerbes des XIII. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts, auct. cat., Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus (Berlin, November 5-7, 1910), p. 14, lot 22 (as by Giovanni Boccati), repr. as Tafel 4

Bernard Berenson, Essays in the Study of Sienese Painting, Frederic Fairchild Sherman (New York, 1918), p. 73, repr. as fig. 37

Arduino Colasanti, "Nuovi Dipinti di Arcangelo di Cola da Camerino", Bollettino d'Arte (1922), pp. 539-545, pp. 544-545, repr. p. 545

Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: a list of the principal artists and their works, with an index of places, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1932), p. 90 as Giovanni Boccatis

Bernard Berenson, Pitture Italiane del Rinascimento: Catalogo dei Principali Artisti e delle Loro Opere con un Indice dei Luoghi, Ulrico Hoepli (Milan, 1936)

George Martin Richter, "Rehabilitation of Fra Carnevale", The Art Quarterly, Detroit Institute of Arts (Autumn 1940), Vol. III, No. 4, pp. 311-324, pp. 320-321, 323, repr. p. 321 as fig. 6

Roberto Longhi, "Il 'Maestro di Pratovecchio'", Paragone (November 1952), Vol. 3, pp. 10-37, repr. as fig. 4

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 135

Burton B. Fredericksen, Giovanni di Francesco and the Master of Pratovecchio, J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu, 1974), pp. 28-29, repr. as fig. 40

David Kolch, "Reconstruction System for Panel Painting Supports: A Review and Evaluation of Treatments in the Fogg Museum Laboratory, 1927-1952" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies , August 1977), Unpublished, pp. 1-60 passim

Keith Christiansen, "For Fra Carnevale", Apollo (March 1979), pp. 198-201, p. 201, under note 17

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 109, 304, repr. b/w cat. no. 568

Andrea de Marchi, Pittura di luce: Giovanni di Francesco e l'arte fiorentina di metà Quattrocento, ed. Luciano Bellosi, Olivetti (Milan, 1990), pp. 149-150, repr. p. 150 as fig. 92

Fra Carnevale: Un artista rinascimentale da Filippo Lippi a Piero della Francesca, exh. cat., Edizioni Olivares (Milan, Itayl, 2004), no. 11, pp. 166-167, repr. in color; p. 81; detail repr. in b/w p. 80, fig. 20

Neville Rowley, "La Renaissance de Fra Carnevale", Annali dell'Università di Ferrara, Casa Editrice Le Lettere (2005), no. 2, pp. 87-111, pp. 91-92

Keith Christiansen, ed., From Filippo Lippi to Piero Della Francesca: Fra Carnevale and the Making of a Renaissance Master, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 2005), no. 11; pp. 28, 30, 101-102, 148, 166-168, 168; detail repr. p. 80

Klaus Krüger, "Andrea Mantegna: Painting's Mediality", Art History (April 2014), Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 222-253, pp. 230-231, repr. p. 230 as plate 4

Keith Christiansen, Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art / Yale University Press (New York, 2014), p. 22 and repr. in color p. 23

Exhibition History

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

From Filippo Lippi to Piero della Francesca: Fra Carnavale and the Making of a Renaissance Master, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano, 10/12/2004 - 01/10/2005; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 01/31/2005 - 05/01/2005

32Q: 2540 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/24/2015 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at