This previously unpublished Madonna and Child by Napolitan artist, Massimo Stanzione, likely dates between 1635 and 1640. The simple palette, the intense blue and red of the mantle, the ivory tones of the flesh and the marked use of chiaroscuro are typical of Stanzione's style during this period. The artist and his studio produced many such works, all of which were destined for private devotion and, indeed, this painting manifests affinities with two other compositions of the same subject, now in private collections in Rome and Genoa.1 In this picture, while the cross has been omitted and composition reversed, the coloration and handling are remarkably similar, notably in the taut yet gently rounded torso of the Christ Child, his full, dark lips and dimpled chin and the soft features of the Madonna, with her large, heavily shadowed eyes and smoothly molded cheeks.
We are grateful to Nicola Spinosa for endorsing an attribution to Massimo Stanzione on the basis of photographs.
1. S. Schutze and T. Willette, Massimo Stanzione, L'Opera completa, Naples 1992, p. 205, nos. A36 and A37.
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