Five Studies for a Lunette with the Virgin and Child

Multiple sketches of a composition of the Madonna with the Christ child and angels

Five Studies for a Lunette with the Virgin and Child, ca. 1525
Red chalk
11 3/8 x 10 1/4 in. (28.9 x 26.1 cm)
The British Museum; donated by John Postle Heseltine, 1912
© The Trustees of the British Museum

These five studies for The Madonna of the Sack lunette in SS. Annunziata in Florence (one of Andrea's best known and lauded works) provide rare insight into the early stages of the artist's creative process. Moving quickly across the sheet, perhaps only in a matter of minutes, Andrea explores different arrangements of the Virgin and Child, from the Virgin standing, at top left, to sitting and nursing the Christ child at bottom right. His diverse handling of chalk — including faint strokes and reworked, stressed contours — echoes his experimental approach to the composition.

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