Sacrifice of Abraham

“Il Riccio” Andrea Briosco, Sacrifice of Abraham, circa 1500, Bronze, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Italian Renaissance plaquettes are small and typically fit in the hand but can be hung on a wall. They were used for private devotion and contemplation. Here Abraham is being address by the angel, halting the sacrifice of his son Isaac. Abraham is large and centered in order to show the stricken expression on his face. His hand rests lightly on Isaac — shown here as younger than usual. The angel is quite tiny in the top left. The space constraints focus attention on the interaction between father and son.

Andrea Briosco was an Italian sculptor and goldsmith in Padua. His nickname was il Riccio and his work is often under that name or Andrea Riccio. He studied under his goldsmith father as well as the sculptor Donatello. Padua was an important city for metalwork as well as home to an important university and many of his patrons were associated with the University of Padua.


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