Head of a Boy - Styles and Influences
Head of a Boy
Desiderio da Settignano
(Settignano near Florence, ca. 1430 - Florence, 1464)
Child portraiture gained momentum around the middle of the 15th c., especially in Florence, which can be explained by a great demand for busts of the young St John and the Christ Child. Those busts were actually portraits of the young sons of noble families, installed in family chapels in memory of boys who died at an early age.
A very similar (or identical) bust can be found in the Washington National Gallery of Art and together with this work it probably best illustrates the extraordinary ease with which Desiderio da Settignano masters the technique of marble carving to create idealized child figures.