There was a huge crossover within workshops during the Italian Renaissance, where artists would often collaborate together in the same projects and would also attempt to produce a consistent style that meant the entire output held a type of brand. This situation has led to confusion over a vast number of artworks from this period, and the career of Andrea del Verrocchio is subject to this confusion as much as anyone. There was often a number of sketches that would be passed around the respective studios so that everyone could learn the appropriate ways of depicting the different aspects of historical, religious and figurative art.
This was an artist, Verrocchio, who produced a number of depictions of the Virgin alongside Christ as a baby. In fact, when you consider just how few paintings he actually produced within his career, the number that feature this iconic figure is particularly dominant. The Virgin Adoring the Christ Child, a part of the collection of the National Gallery in the UK, and on display in Scotland, has sometimes been referred to as The Ruskin Madonna due to one of the previous owners who himself was an influential art critic. The fresco was transferred from wood and measures just over a metre tall, in a traditional portrait orientation. The Virgin appears to be kneeling in front on the baby, who lies to the left of the scene.
In the background is a large amount of architectural touches that provide an additional element of interest to this painting. There is a sense of perspective, when looking through the archway on the left hand side but the artist does not quite go far enough in order to produce the true sense of perspective that was featured in some of the art movements that followed in the centuries after. A number of members of the Italian Renaissance were responsible for transporting us from a position of flat perspective as used in the medieval periods towards the much more advanced techniques that then became common place.