It was a minor piece by Agostino di Duccio (1418-1481). The piece that left me speechless, unable to look away and nearly weeping for joy was a marble relief of a Madonna and Child hanging on a wall in the Bargello Museum. I've seen literally hundreds of works depicting the Madonna and Child in my life and to be honest as a secular Jew the religious impact is pretty much lost on me beyond the historical and socio-political implications, but this particular piece touched my soul. I could have cried at its grace and beauty, the incredible delicacy of the faces, and the way the artist turned cold stone into folds of cloth so soft I had to restrain myself from reaching out to touch them. Mere words on a page could never convey the inner beauty he coaxed from the stone, the life he imbued in it. Photography is not permitted in the art museums, and I felt such a loss at not being able to preserve even a faint memory of the work that had touched me so. What a wonder then to discover that in this internet age all is possible.
I give you "Madonna and Child with Angels", by Agostino di Duccio.
This tiny photograph is merely a pale shadow of the original, but perhaps it will somehow touch your soul in the way that the memory of its counterpart in the Bargello touches mine.