Galeazzo Mondella, called Moderno, has been universally recognized since the sixteenth century as the most accomplished and influential master of plaquettes in Central and Northern Italy during the late fifteenth century. Moderno was born in Verona in 1467, but worked throughout the Venetian Empire, as well as in Mantua and Rome. He adopted the appellation “Moderno” in 1487 while he was in Mantua at the same time as the sculptor Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (1460-1528), who had taken on the sobriquet “Antico.”
This plaquette is one of four executed by Moderno of approximately the same dimensions and devoted to the life of Christ. This series of bronzes reflect the artist’s response to a variety of Northern Italian compositional sources, most notably Andrea Mantegna. In Adoration, Moderno seems to have synthesized a particularly wide range of sources. He evidently looked to works by not only Mantegna, but also Domenico Veneziano, Gentile da Fabriano, Antonio Vivarini and Jacopo Bellini, making this plaquette a notable example of his integrated style. The plaquette exists in many versions – the popularity of the subject is confirmed both by its influence on later works and by the composition’s continued recasting and use well into the sixteenth century.