Madonna with child - Michelangelo
In 1501 Francesco Picollomini, the later Pope Pius III, gave Michelangelo the task to sculpture 15 statues in Carrara marble, meant for the altar of the Dom of Sienna and in memory of his predecessor Pope Pius II.
From Italy to Bruges
As usual Michelangelo quarreled with his constituent after finishing only one of the statues and the task fell through.
In 1504 the Bruges' merchant Jan Van Moeskroen bought the concerning statue 'Madonna with Child' in Florence.
In 1506 the statue caravel from Lucca to Bruges and in 1516 the family Moeskroen donates the statue to Bruges.
Late Renaissance: Madonna is a bit static. In the Uffizi of Florence you find the sketches and preparatory study. It is meant to be viewed from below. Michelangelo obviously has used the same model for his famous Pieta in the St-Pieters Basilica. She doesn't look at the child, but gazes out dreamily in front of her with a book in the hand, while her left foot rest on a rock. Arms and shoulders form a circle.
Early Baroque: There is more movement in the Jesus child and the folds of the dress. The child looks for security with his mother. Also the unbrushed hairs and the big head announce the new Baroque style.
During the French Revolution, the statue was seriously threatened, but the Bruges' citizens have been able to hide it for the French fanatic vandalism.
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