National Gallery: Manchester Madonna, c.1497
This is an unfinished painting by the young Michelangelo. Its medium is tempera on wood. In 1857, the Madonna was exhibited for the first time in the temporary exhibition: Art Treasures of the United Kingdom in Manchester; before this, the painting was in the Borghese collection in Rome. This work is usually attributed to the master’s debuts at the time of his first trip to Rome, when the banker Jacopo Galli commissioned him some works. The portrait portrays the return of the divine family from Egypt. The painting represents Mary, in the act of reading a prophetic book that reveals the fate of her son. Behind we see the young John the Baptist with his signature camel fur. On the sides we can find two pairs of symmetrical angels reading from a scroll. Only the one on the right is complete, whereas the other is illuminated only with green pigment, which is the base colour for flesh tone.