Madonna and Child
Madonna and Child, ca. 1350
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
29 1/2 × 19 in. (74.93 × 48.26 cm)
Purchase, Myron and Elizabeth P. Laskin Fund, Marjorie Tiefenthaler Bequest, Friends of Art, and Fine Arts Society; and funds from Helen Peter Love, Chapman Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. James K. Heller, Joseph Johnson Charitable Trust, the A. D. Robertson Family, Mr. and Mrs. Donald S. Buzard, the Frederick F. Hansen Family, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Fritz, and June Burke Hansen; with additional support from Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Bader, Dr. Warren Gilson, Mrs. Edward T. Tal, Mr. and Mrs. Richard B. Flagg, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Vogel, Mrs. William D. Kyle, Sr., L. B. Smith, Mrs. Malcolm K. Whyte, Bequest of Catherine Jean Quirk, Mrs. Charles E. Sorenson, Mr. William Stiefel, and Mrs. Adelaide Ott Hayes, by exchange M1995.679
Photo credit Marco Grassi Gallery, New York
Following the bubonic plague outbreak in Florence in 1348, a renewed religious conservatism marked the general atmosphere and the next generation of artists. Nardo di Cione and his two brothers were among the leaders of this medievalizing style, which harked back to models of presentation antedating the naturalistic and humanistic innovations of Giotto. The enduring, iconic quality of Nardo’s Madonna and Child is a product of his interpretation of the Virgin as the Queen of Heaven, set against an abstract and timeless gold background in the Byzantine tradition. The artist’s own lyricism is evident in the delicate skin tones, rhythmic and ornamental draperies, and rich, saturated palette. The painting likely served as the central panel of a small folding altarpiece.
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.