- Museum number
The Assumption; the Virgin sitting in mid-air on a cloud surrounded by a choir of angels; St Thomas kneeling and reaching his hands out for the girdle which the Virgin lets fall; in the foreground, the tomb filled with flowers and, behind, a pond, a number of trees, deer and buildings. c.1490-1500
- Production date
- 1490-1500 (circa)
Height: 223 millimetres
Width: 167 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The print belongs to a series of fifteen engravings of the 'Life of the Virgin and Christ' executed in a style called by Hind the 'Broad Manner' and recently attributed to Francesco Rosselli; for a discussion of this group see the entry for Hind, B.I.1.II (1870-6-25-1048).
The present engraving is the second state of the print. Examples of the first state are in Hamburg (hand-coloured and mounted on canvas), Pavia (Raccolta Malaspina, Museo Civico) and Vienna (original and falsified impressions with pen-and-ink additions). In the first state the beams of light surrounding the Virgin are as delicate as the ones in the 'Ascension' (Hind, B.II.12.I); in the second state the wings of the cherub third from the top l are barely visible beneath the reworked beams of light.
As Hind noted, the figure of St Thomas is almost interchangeable with that of the kneeling Apostle in the foreground in the 'Ascension' of the same series (Hind, B.I.12.I). The landscape corresponds to that in other 'Broad Manner' engravings attributed to Francesco Rosselli, such as the 'Triumphs of Petrarch', the large 'Assumption of the Virgin' after Botticelli and the 'View of Florence' (see Hind, B.II.1-6; B.III.10; B.III.18 and Mark J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Bartsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part. 2, 1994, pp. 31-37, 91, 95-97, nos. 018-023; 069; 072). The figure of the Virgin also resembles that of a number of the 'Prophets' and 'Sibyl' now thought to be by Rosselli (eg. see Hind, C.I.2a1, C.I.2b1, C.I.21a1,C.I.21b1, C.II.9b, C.II.11a; and Mark J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Bartsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part. 2, 1994, pp. 42-73, nos. 024-059). Hind suggested a further comparison with a fresco - close to Baldovinetti - in the sacristy of S. Niccolo' Sopr'Arno in Florence.
The 'Madonna della Cintola' ('The Madonna of the girdle') subject, narrated in the 'Golden Legend' by Jacopo da Varagine (1230-1298), was especially popular among Tuscan artists, because of the preservation of a holy relic, purportedly the girdle itself, in the cathedral of Prato near Florence.
This print was issued as a black and white facsimile by the British Museum in 'Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Reproduced by Photographic Process', [First Series] Part I (Italian Prints), Published by the Trustees in 1882, where it was number XIX and described there as 'Fra Filippo Lippi. The Madonna Presenting a Scapulary to St. John, c.1412-1469.'; (Shelfmark 245*.b.12).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number