Michelangelo's The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John (courtesy: Royal Academy of Arts)
There was much relief when London’s Royal Academy of Arts finally agreed to lend its Michelangelo sculpture to the National Gallery, after lengthy negotiations. Earlier this month, the sculpture of the Virgin and Child with the Infant St John (around 1505) made the half-mile journey to the Michelangelo & Sebastiano show (until 25 June). The tondo is actually returning home, since the Academy was based in the National Gallery’s building from 1837 to 1868; the work was displayed in what was then the library (it is now the café), above the fireplace, so the marble must have been somewhat sooty. Now, on the floor above, the sculpture is right at home, installed in a case designed specially for the show.