The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Bust of the Young Christ
  • Florentine School
  • Bust of the Young Christ
  • Florence, Italy
  • c. 1500 or later
  • Bust
  • Terracotta, painted
  • Height: 37.7 cm
    Width: 34.4 cm
    Depth: 19.8 cm
  • S54
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Small busts of Christ as a young boy seem to have been especially popular in Florence, where they were often paired with busts of the young Saint John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint. Bust portraits of this type were produced in marble in many of the leading sculptors’ workshops in fifteenth-century Florence, for example those of Desiderio da Settignano or of Antonio Rossellino, but would then be further reproduced in less expensive materials, in particular fired clay (terracotta) or plaster (stucco). They were often found in homes in Florence, where preachers such as the Blessed Giovanni Dominici urged parents to keep such painted and sculpted images in their homes as examples for their children. The position of this example on the chimneypiece lintel corresponds to the sort of raised position in which busts of this sort would have been originally displayed.