Sienese School, 14th Century
- The Madonna and Child
- tempera on panel, gold ground, in an engaged frame
- 18 1/2 by 13 5/8 in.; 46.8 by 34.7 cm.
In the present collection since at least 1963.
S. Padovani, "Sulla traccia di Cristoforo di Bindoccio e Meo di Pero," in Bollettino d'arte, series VI, vol. XV, p. 90, reproduced fig. 60 (as Cristoforo di Bindoccio e Meo di Pero).
The accompanying Man of Sorrows is slightly smaller than the present painting, measuring 15 7/8 by 10 7/8 in.; 40.5 by 27.8 cm., but from the photographs it appears to have been trimmed along at least two of its edges. Where the elaborately punched border remains intact, at the right side of the panel, it is instantly recognizable as matching that of the present painting. At the edges, the artist(s) employed a large, six-petaled flower punch, alternated with a tulip motif, flanked by small circles at either side and surrounded by dots. It is the tulip motif, alternately impressed upside down and right-way up, which is of particular interest. The tool appears to have originated in the Lorenzetti workshop and was used by Ambrogio in his celebrated Maestà of 1335, in the Museo d’Arte Sacra, Massa Marittima, and by Pietro in the halos of the lateral saints to his Madonna and Child, with the Blessing Christ of circa 1340, in the National Gallery, Washington DC (inv. no. 1941.5.1.a and 1941.5.1.c).3 How that punch fell into the hands of this master decades later remains a mystery. One hypothesis, however, is that the panels and their tooled decoration could in fact be earlier and were then re-purposed by the present artist, who painted the figures later in the century.
We are grateful to Professors Gaudenz Freuler, Andrea De Marchi and Laurence Kanter for their invaluable assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
1. For the saints see S. Padovani, under Literature, p. 89-90, reproduced figs. 4-6.
2. Fondazione Federico Zeri online archive, Università di Bologna, entry nos. 7510 and 7509.
3. E. Skaug, Punch Marks from Giotto to Fra Angelico, Oslo 1994, vol. I, p. 226, 230, nos. 7.4-7.5, vol. II, nos. 7.4-7.5.