Carlo Portelli was active primarily in Florence, where he painted a number of major commissions for local churches, including, for example, Santa Maria Maggiore. He was a student of the painter Ridolfo Ghirlandaio.
The small canvas depicts a three-quarter figure of the Virgin Mary holding a naked, slightly chubby child. The infant Jesus is portrayed as a restless child in the arms of his mother, which contrasts with the typical gesture of blessing with his right hand. Due to the proportions of the female figure and the child’s downward gaze, we can assume that at the bottom there was another character that is missing because the image was cropped. The painting bears an old label from a previous auction at which it was attributed to Francesco Salviati, but from a chronological point of view, it is likely an erroneous attribution. Nevertheless it is fairly certain that this is a legacy of the artist and a Florentine painting.
(expert opinion: Alessandro Delpriori, PhD, Università di Firenze)